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June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc 3/25/15 3:56 PM


COMMUNITY

The Village changes, the Christopher Street pier remains

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FLAME CON

THEATER

Geeking out at Flame Con

Jonathan's new brain

52 - 59

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PRIDE

FILM

HEALTH

Black leaders frustrated by lack of voice on AIDS

Rare New York bounty of Asian film

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84

INTERNATIONAL

Sunny festivities & a parade under the stars

60

BOOKS

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Memories of Madeline

A quick chat during a victory lap

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12

14 DAYS

Choreographing Escher, Bacon & Rothko

Europride shines in Latvia

34 GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

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HISTORY

Stonewall Inn Wins City Landmark Status, Protection After June 23 hearing and a quick vote, façades of two storefronts that housed original bar designated for protection

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BY ANDY HUMM

GAY CITY NEWS

he Landmarks Preservation Commission heard testimony June 23 on whether to designate the adjoining sites of the original Stonewall Inn, which launched the Rebellion sparking the modern LGBT rights movement, as an official city landmark. It then took the unprecedented step of immediately moving to a vote. The Commission’s affirmative tally represented the first time a site had been landmarked specifically for its role in LGBT history, and came just in time for the 46th anniversary of the Rebellion that will be commemorated by the Pride March on Sunday, June 28, the actual anniversary. The preservationists, political leaders, and activists — including some Rebellion participants — who testified were unanimous in supporting the designation, and the Commission was unanimous in approving it. Even the Real Estate Board of New York, an industry trade association, spoke for it (“We don’t come here often,” the group’s spokesperson said to some laughter) as did Stonewall participant

The Stonewall Inn and the adjoining storefront to its right now enjoy landmark status protecting the integrity of their façades.

Jim Fouratt, despite his contempt for the bar itself. “It was an awful place,” he said — though others, including Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt, who was not at the hearing, remember it as a dive, but at least one where men could touch while dancing. That, Lanigan-Schmidt said, was “revolutionary” (see Gay City News, June 11, at goo.gl/fSoxSP). Commissioner Michael Devon-

shire said, “It’s not a pretty building. To quote from ‘The Boys in the Band,’ ‘Who is she? Who was she? What does she hope to be?’” But historically, he said, it is a “fantastic spot” recalling “a period of struggle for dignity for the LGBT community.” Veteran gay activist Rick Landman, a former chair of the Landmarks Committee at Manhattan’s Community Board 1, noted that

NATIONAL PARK OUTSIDE THE STONEWALL IN THE WORKS Christopher Park across from the just-landmarked sites of the Stonewall Inn could become a national park if a campaign underway from the National Parks Conservation Association, a private advocacy group for parks, is successful. The NCPA, at a forum it hosted June 23 at the LGBT Community Center, announced that the idea is set to come before Manhattan Community Board 2’s parks committee July 1 and the full board on July 23. The meeting at the Center, which drew veteran LGBT activists, neighborhood activists, preservationists, and aides to local elected officials, was held to gauge local support for the campaign, which will require the city to turn Christopher Park over to the federal government. That action would give President Barack Obama the opportunity to use the Antiquities Act to declare it a National Monument to be administered by the National Park Service. Christopher Park includes the George Segal sculpture of gay and lesbian couples called “Gay Liberation,” which was dedicated in 1992. While many questions were raised about the nature of the park and whether it would embrace other significant LGBT sites in the area and throughout the city in addition to the locale of the Stonewall Rebellion, no one in the gathering of about 50 people opposed the campaign. In fact, some were already actively engaged in it. The NCPA advocates for the designation, but then it is up

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to the National Park Service to embrace the idea and conduct research on how to appropriately present the history of the site. Funds would come from the federal budget, but would need to be supplemented by a “Friends of” the park campaign as well. With just over a year-and-a-half left in Obama’s term, there is an urgency about moving forward quickly on this, given the possibility that an unsympathetic Republican could succeed him in January 2017. Cortney Worrall, senior regional director of the NPCA, who led the meeting, said she hopes the park will convey “the power of the Stonewall story and the transformation of Greenwich Village to what it is now.” She is also hoping for a big show of support at the Community Board 2 hearing on July 1. Ken Lustbader, a veteran gay preservation advocate, said the Stonewall park would be part of “site-based history,” like Seneca Falls for the women’s movement and Selma for the Civil Rights movement. All three locations were famously cited in Obama’s second Inaugural Address. Once the physical foothold of the park is secured, other elements can be added, including signage throughout the area and beyond, and information that can be accessed through an app. Jim Fouratt, a Stonewall participant who just turned 74, said that he can think of “20 places within that square mile [that] have historic significance” to LGBT communities. — Andy Humm

the Commission “landmarked the building where the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire occurred for its historical nature and not the architectural significance of the building. We commemorate the birth of the Garment Union and Labor and Safety laws at that location each year. So the LPC has already granted an individual designation for a building’s historical significance.” Anita Isola, a lifelong Village resident who said her parents had their wedding reception at the old Stonewall Inn, wanted it landmarked because it was there that “a global movement started right in our neighborhood.” Many who spoke at the hearing cited the immediate militant LGBT organizing that followed the Rebellion’s several nights as well as the commemorative marches that began in cities from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco the following year — and now number in the thousands around the world, including in places where such marches are proscribed by law, such as Russia. Historian David Carter, whose 2004 “Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution” is widely considered the definitive account of the Rebellion, said that the organizing that grew out of Stonewall “transformed the very small pre-existing homophile movement into a mass movement.” It is the history that took place in June 1969 that won the designation. During the raid, “the community stood up to police oppression and discrimination,” said lesbian Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who also cited the role it has played as a gathering point for LGBT demonstrations ever since, most recently for marriage equality campaigns lost and won. (It is where the community will gather the evening of the fast approaching Supreme Court decision day on marriage equality.) Stonewall participant Martin Boyce, 67, who was there the first night of the Rebellion, said, “In some ways or other, we are all Stonewall veterans,” beneficiaries of what took

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STONEWALL, continued on p.22

June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

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COMMUNITY

The West Village Changes, the Christopher Street Pier Remains A Hudson River refuge is still special in the lives of LGBT people, many young, many of color BY ALICIA GREEN

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Ashanti 60s, a native Philadelphian in New York City for 35 years

who first started it on Christopher Street. I don’t know how many people know that.

It is one of the few existing places where gay people can be themselves. Not just me, but I think people from all ethnicities. [Twenty to 30 years ago], I used to come here because there were a lot of blacks and Latinos. People were doing everything you could imagine. Dance, they were doing vogue, a lot of stuff. The piers were actually run down. They were all wood, broken. There was a lot of crime, prostitution, drugs. This is really, really wonderful to see the changes.

Jamel 21, from Brooklyn

ALICIA GREEN

ALICIA GREEN

I was just introduced to the pier like last month. It feels welcoming, like this is home. [My] second home basically. In my neighborhood, I feel like, “Okay, I’m dressed up. Now, I need to leave.” Over here, it’s like “Yes. I get to put on a show.” It’s like all eyes are on me in my neighborhood in a negative way. Over here, it’s like you’re just welcomed. GAY CITY NEWS: What do you like to do at the pier? Louis: I like to just sit down with friends and ki. Ki is like just get together, talk, just enjoy the time that we have, eat. It’s just amazing.

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GCN: What was a typical day at the pier like for you then versus now? Ashanti: The crowds were much more fun. More openness. Just enjoying their lives. Now, it’s a little bit more gentrified. GCN: How often do you come to the pier? Ashanti: I’d say about three times a week maybe. GCN: What is one of your favorite memories or a good experience that you’ve had coming here? Ashanti: The old clubs [and] bars they used to have here. They’re all gone. The memories are still lingering on, but the clubs are gone. I would say this too: gays aren’t given enough recognition for their innovation. One of the innovative things they started here was the Halloween celebration or festival. Now, it’s been taken over commercially and they do it on Sixth Avenue. Originally, it was the gays

ALICIA GREEN

Things have changed [since the late ‘70s]. These piers weren’t what they are today. They were raggedy and horrible.

50, originally from Brazil

GCN: How has coming to the pier changed your life? Ashanti: Just meeting all the different types of people here and expanding my mind, and not being so closed-minded to certain things and certain people’s ways of life, especially when it comes to transgenders. I had to become more accepting of them. They have their life to live, too. I may not understand it. I understand it a little more bit better today, but back then it was a learning lesson.

Louis Soto 18, born in Brooklyn and now living in the Bronx

Alberto

ALICIA GREEN

merica’s LGBT civil rights movement may have found its flashpoint at the Stonewall Inn, but it’s at the far end of Christopher Street where many of New York’s queer youth found acceptance without demands and struggle. Frequented decades ago by young people for whom the 1969 riots were fresh in their memory — and known today as Hudson River Park’s Pier 45 — the Christopher Street Pier, at West Street and West 10th Street, still functions as a second home to gay youth, especially those of color. But the park draws more than just the youth of the moment. Recently, several visitors there, wide-ranging in age, spoke to me about why they go to the pier.

GCN: Have you met new friends? Louis: I met friends of friends. It’s a great way to network with friends in the gay community since it is so small. You either come here and see people that you have vibed with before or people you have negative pasts with, but you know you respect the place and you just chill here.

I come out here to kiki with the girls. There are more gay people, more open people [than in my neighborhood]. I can come here and express myself, and not be judged. GCN: How often do you come to the pier? Jamel: I used to come very, very often. Now, I come like once in a blue moon. GCN: Have you had any good memories here? Jamel: A couple years ago, I met my home girl. But I didn’t meet her here, I met her at the Door [a Broome Street youth center in Soho; door. org]. I had never got her name or number. Then a couple days later, I pumped over here and we ki’d the whole day when I saw her. It was just so fun.

GCN: What do you think about residents pushing for an earlier curfew to get the gay youth out of the pier earlier? Alberto: No. Definitely no. This was taken by gay people first. Then it became a hot spot. Now, we have all of these people who own these buildings and they want us out. We need a space, and this is one of them. We have to reclaim it back. G CN: Have you ever had a problem with the locals here? Alberto: No. Never. I’m lucky. GCN: How would you say the pier changed your life? Alberto: It changed my life because I think it is the safest place to come. Before it used to be after a certain hour you had to leave because you were afraid. But now… I like to come here any time of day.

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PIER, continued on p.50

June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

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HEALTH

City, Activists Agree on Triage for Shuttered STD Clinic On-site vans and funding support for nearby Chelsea health non-profits rally support from former critics

DONNA ACETO

New York City Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett.

BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

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oughly three months after the closing of the city’s Chelsea sexually transmitted disease clinic for a two-year renovation touched off protests, the city health department and community activists reached an agreement that will replace the services lost when the clinic was shuttered on March 21. “This plan will help make sure that New York-

ers who have come to rely on the Chelsea clinic can get the services they need while we transform the Chelsea clinic into a world-class facility,” Dr. Mary T. Bassett, the city’s health commissioner, said in a June 16 statement. “I thank Councilmember Corey Johnson for helping us coordinate with community partners to ensure low and no-cost services are available in the neighborhood.” The statement, which was written with Johnson and activists, also quoted Johnson, who represents Chelsea and is the out gay Health Committee chair, Mark Harrington, executive director of the Treatment Action Group, and James Krellenstein, a member of ACT UP New York. Harrington and Krellenstein were among the health department’s harshest critics. Activists who are now praising the deal previously charged that the health department never had a plan to replace the lost services other than sending clients to another city clinic that is 70 blocks from the Chelsea clinic. State Senator Brad Hoylman, who is also gay, and Assemblymember Dick Gottfried were also quoted. Both represent Chelsea, as well. They participated in a May 15 meeting that was organized by Johnson and included activists and senior health department staff. Under the deal, the health department will keep a mobile van at the Chelsea clinic location to send clients to three nearby non-profits that will provide HIV and sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment. The department will

fund those services at the Community Healthcare Network, the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, and Mt. Sinai Downtown Comprehensive Health Center. The city is also paying for one nurse practitioner at each site. That funding will “support approximately 60 to 70 more sexual health visits per day than what is currently offered,” the statement said. Six non-profits will continue to operate mobile testing vans at the Chelsea clinic site. The statement said the vans “can accommodate approximately 10 to 15 sexual health visits per day.” Then, in the fall, the health department will keep a “full-service” mobile clinic outside the Chelsea clinic site that will provide “HIV and STD testing and accommodate approximately 10 to 15 more sexual health visits per day than what is currently available.” These facilities, along with the city’s eight other sexually transmitted disease clinics, will “create a patient care capacity that approximates that of the Chelsea Clinic,” the statement said. Since 2012, the Chelsea clinic had about 20,000 visits a year, more than any of the other city clinics. ACT UP held a June 3 protest outside City Hall that notably featured a shift in their target. Previously, activists had chastised the health department; they turned their fire on Mayor Bill de Blasio at the protest with mocking signs. The

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CLINIC, continued on p.22

De Blasio Faces Demand for $10 Million for Plan to End AIDS On City Hall steps, 70 advocates gather to press mayor as budget negotiations near June 30 deadline BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

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IDS groups gathered on the steps of City Hall to demand that the de Blasio administration contribute $10 million towards the Plan to End AIDS in the city budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1. “Ten million dollars is a nice first step,” said Corey Johnson, the gay city councilmember who chairs the Council’s Health Committee and is HIV-positive, at the June 18 rally. “Ten million is not going to get us the entire way so we’re calling on the city to step up.” The rally, which drew about 70 people, was produced by the End AIDS NY 2020 Coalition, which is comprised of 60 AIDS groups.

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Many of the groups were on a task force, appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, that drafted the plan to reduce new HIV infections in New York from the cur rent roughly 3,000 a year to 750 annually by 2020. The plan was endorsed by Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio last year. The task force members pressed the Cuomo administration to contribute at least $100 million to the plan in the current state fiscal year, which began on April 1. While Cuomo did negotiate reduced prices for the anti-HIV drugs that are a core component of the plan, the governor kicked in only $10 million. The coalition wants the city to match that amount in its budget. “I don’t want to set expectations

too high, but I feel like we have a fighting chance,” Johnson said at the rally. The mayor’s preliminary budget, which was released on February 9, cut the budgets of the city health department and the Human Resources Administration, the two city agencies that will deliver most if not all of the resources for implementing the plan. In its response to the preliminary budget, the City Council proposed adding $9.7 million for the plan. While the cuts to the two agencies were partially restored in the mayor’s $78 billion executive budget, which was released on May 7, the City Council dollars were not included. At the rally, Jim Eigo, a member of ACT UP New York, recalled a pro-

test the AIDS activist group held on the steps of City Hall in 1987 when AIDS was burning through the city’s gay community. About 80 ACT UP members were escorted in by Miriam Friedlander, then a councilmember. “We were now Miriam’s special guests and with her we proceeded to stage a fabulous, glorious protest,” Eigo said. “All that time later, AIDS is still with us… So why are we here? Eighty percent of the epidemic is here in the city. Until the city pays its share, we will not end the epidemic.” In large measure, the plan will rely on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis

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BUDGET, continued on p.22

June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


HEALTH

Black Leaders Still Frustrated By Lack of Voice in Plan to End AIDS Veterans of fight against epidemic in New York unhappy about inattention from state, city BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

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GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

GAY CITY NEWS

ctivists who have led HIV prevention and community-building efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender African Americans continue to express frustration that this population is not getting sufficient attention or resources in New York State’s Plan to End AIDS. “What we’re saying now is that there is a lot of rhetoric going on, good rhetoric, but that rhetoric must match the reality,” said Nathan Kerr, a member of the Black LGBT Alliance of New York. “Nothing has changed as far as trying to engage the black LGBT community in this.” The alliance was formed last year to re-engage that community in discussions on HIV, health, and social justice, and also to ensure that the voice of that community was included in the state’s plan, which aims to reduce new HIV infections in New York from the current roughly 3,000 annually to 750 a year by 2020. The plan relies largely on preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which involves the use of antiHIV drugs by HIV-negative people to keep them uninfected, postexposure prophylaxis (PEP), which prevents infection by giving anti-HIV drugs to HIV-negative people with a recent exposure to the virus, and treatment as prevention (TasP), which involves the consistent use of anti-HIV drugs by HIV-positive people so they can remain non-infectious. All three drug regimens have a proven effectiveness when taken correctly. More than 90 percent of new HIV infections in New York are in New York City, and all demographic groups in the city have seen declines in new infections in recent years except gay and bisexual men. In 2013, there were 2,832 new HIV diagnoses in the city and gay and bisexual men accounted for nearly 57 percent, with 1,609 new diagnoses. Among all men, gay and bisexual men accounted for 70

Bishop Zachary G. Jones and Nathan Kerr.

“If the numbers are really going to come down, we really have to think about this in a different way,” said Gary English, the former head of People of Color in Crisis.

percent of the new HIV diagnoses. Latino men accounted for 785 diagnoses and African-American men accounted for 874 diagnoses. The data shows that the new HIV diagnoses among all men are occurring largely among men who have sex with men, so if the plan does not make substantial reductions in new HIV infections in this population, particularly among African-American and Latino men, it will fail. “If the numbers are really going to come down, we really have to think about this in a different way,” said Gary English, the former head of People of Color in Crisis (POCC), an AIDS group that closed in 2008. Members of the alliance, which counts Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD), Breaking Ground, MOCHA, and Black Men Talking among its collaborators, were dismayed last year when just three black gay men were appointed to

the 63-members task force that created the plan. Now the slow pace at which implementation is proceeding is frustrating them as is the continued inattention to black gay men. “The agencies, the health department have not stepped forward to say, ‘We need to fast track this,’” said Zachary G. Jones, a senior bishop at Brooklyn Unity Fellowship of Christ Church. “Every meeting we have had, we have initiated.” Until it closed amid allegations of financial impropriety by English’s successor, POCC was among the premiere organizations serving black gay men in the country, if not the leader. GMAD struggled financially in 2012 and its annual budget now, at about $700,000, is about half of what it had been in better years. And as the response to HIV has been medicalized, government and private funders increasingly

support organizations that perform thousands of HIV tests a year, identify previously unknown HIV-positive people, and get them into treatment. Funders have moved away from the behavioral interventions, such as counseling, that were the core of POCC’s and GMAD’s services. What these groups do offer is unique access to a population that may be hard to find, and they can link people to larger medical facilities where they can get PrEP, PEP, or TasP. Kerr said some of the larger AIDS groups have a “history of being unable to engage the black gay community.” POCC used to produce Pride in the City, which was a week-long series of events held in August that attracted thousands of people of color. It was also a way to distribute health messages and do HIV testing. When Jones raised reviving Pride in the City with government funders, he got a “humdrum response,” he said. Jones was frustrated that it appears little was done to use this year’s Pride festivals to tell any community about PrEP and that the summer may pass without that information getting to high-risk populations. “There are opportunities that are passing us by,” he said during a June 22 interview at Kerr’s Bedford-Stuyvesant home. “Gay Pride is next weekend… Now is the time.” The activists are pressing city, state, and federal health authorities to increase the resources going to serve black gay men and to set goals for success between now and 2020. “ We a l s o n e e d t o h a v e benchmarks, we need to have numbers,” Kerr said. Jones quickly added, “Not just a 2020 benchmark, all the numbers that lead up to that.” And they want the work of getting PrEP and PEP to the African-American LGBT community to get started now. “We don’t want to wait until year four,” Kerr said. “We want to be upset now so we don’t have to be upset then.”

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SENIORS

Days Well Spent For LGBT seniors facing physical, cognitive limitations, a SAGE daily program offers structure and engagement BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC

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COURTESY: SAGE

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DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC

arbara Police and Pat Slone have been together for 40 years and have a problem that many couples can relate to — temperature wars. Police is always cold, explained Slone, who said she herself is always hot. This can play itself out in windows being opened and just as quickly being closed, she said. But Police, 66, and Slone, 72, can agree on many things — their love for “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” for instance. “We watch it for Mariska Hargitay,” said Police, referring to the actress who plays Olivia Benson. The couple named their dog Munchy after John Munch, a character from the show. Also top of their list is the new day program that is part of SAGE, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders, an organization that has been addressing older adult issues since 1978. “We like the program very much,” said Police. “We have different things that we do each day — discussion, trivia, painting, dance, [and] exercise. We have a lot of things that we do. We enjoy it.” SAGEDay was launched last November in partnership with the Bronx’s Hebrew Home at Riverdale. It is a social day program for LGBT elders who may have one or more limitations — cognitive or mobility issues, for example. Door -to-door transportation is provided, explained Scott Randall, outreach manager for the program, as he gave a tour of the facilities, which include a library, a lounge, and computer access at the SAGE Center, which opened on the sixth and 15th floors at 305 Seventh Avenue, between 27th and 28th Streets, in 2012. Participants are provided with a light breakfast, a full lunch, and a light snack, said Randall. The program, which runs from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., offers support and structure, he said. There is an admission process, Doreen Bermudez, program manager for SAGEDay, explained in a phone interview. Each person is assessed and an individualized care plan is created, she said. Activities are tailored for the participants, many of whom have memory loss. There are art workshops, storytelling sessions, games such as dominoes, Trivial Pursuit, and chess, and karaoke, said Randall. Attendees also go on outings, most recently to the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. The social program aims “to enhance and maintain the quality of life” for participants, Bermudez explained. “We are able to provide an environment that

Pat Slone and Barbara Police have been together for 40 years.

A mandala painting project is one of the activities offered by the SAGEDay program.

is safe and inclusive to LGBT [elders] and also addresses those unique needs,” she said. Older LGBT adults face singular issues — access to healthcare and housing, inequality under the law, and isolation, according to Bermudez. “We are trying to break isolation, and we are also building community with the older adults that are in the program that might not necessarily have a network of support,” she said, noting that some are estranged from their families. Affordable housing and housing discrimination are also problems older LGBT adults face, said Cathy Renna, managing partner at TargetCue, a firm that provides public relations and marketing for LGBT and HIV/ AIDS organizations. “They will find themselves in situations where, as they age, finding housing that adequately addresses their needs is difficult, and often LGBT elders experience discrimination in situations like nursing homes and assisted care facilities,” Renna, an LGBT activist for 25 years, said in a phone interview. “There are many examples of couples who’ve been split apart or individuals who kind of have to get back in the closet because there’s a homophobic environment,” she added. SAGE is at the forefront of giving LGBT aging issues both a local and national platform, said Bermudez. Renna said that there has been a sea change in activism, advocacy, and attitudes around aging issues within the community and outside of it. “Within our own community — the LGBT community needed to deal with its own ageism,” she said. “If you look at LGBT media and the LGBT community in general in terms

of visibility, you rarely saw older LGBT people. SAGE has been instrumental in increasing the visibility of LGBT Americans within our own community as well as the larger community.” SAGE has centers throughout the city and 27 affiliates in 20 states and the District of Columbia. The SAGEDay program is currently funded by a grant from the New York State Department of Health and has the capacity for 25 people, said Randall. As of now, around 10 people regularly attend, he said. At the end of September, funding will end and participants will be covered if they have Medicaid or are eligible for Medicaid. If not, the program costs $65 a day and $35 a day for transportation, if needed, said Randall. Residents of VISIONS at Selis Manor, a senior housing facility at 135 West 23rd Street, Police and Slone don’t have far to travel to access the SAGEDay program. Police grew up in the Village and there was a long time when she was no big fan of Chelsea — she remembers being forbidden as a child to travel above 14th Street. Slone was raised near Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and can remember its lights flooding her windows at night. The couple have been involved with SAGE long enough to remember when it was just a handful of people gathering at the LGBT Community Center on West 13th Street, where the organization first laid down roots. The two women met in the lunchroom on their jobs. “I was talking to a friend and I banged my tray into hers,” explained Slone, “and she turned around and I said, ‘Hello there’ and she said, ‘Well, hello there.’” All these years later, that lunchroom mishap must seem like a very happy collision. June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


REMEMBRANCE

Sidney Was a Right-on Woman Life of lesbian feminist pioneer Sidney Abbott celebrated at Judson Church BY ANDY HUMM

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GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY ARCHIVES

idney Abbott, author with her then-partner Barbara Love of the groundbreaking “Sappho Was a Right-on Woman: A Liberated View of Lesbianism” in 1971, died in a tragic fire in her Southold, Long Island home on April 15 at the age of 77. Her life and work — “the complex mosaic called Sidney Abbott,” her friend Artemis March said — was celebrated by a crowd made up primarily of lesbians and other feminists at the Village’s Judson Church on June 16. Love was unable to attend, but Love’s current partner Donna Smith read a passage from the “Sappho” book, a call to be a new kind of lesbian: “Gay liberation is committed to changing society so self and society can work in harmony. An activist takes on the burden of those who choose to hide.” It was radical stuff in those days when homosexuality was classified as a mental illness and homosexual acts were mostly against the law, including in New York. In a video clip from Joyce Wa r s h o w ’ s 1 9 8 9 “ W h y I a m a Feminist,” Abbott spoke for herself about her mother’s “long line of Quakers” and her father’s “rebellious” Scots. “I got romantic ideas from my mother’s side and ‘just do it’ from my father’s,” she said, explaining that she became an activist after she and Love “became lovers.” “I had not been around the gay lifestyle,” Abbott said. “We just wanted to be alone together. But it was the end of the ‘60s. Barbara said, ‘We’re like cockroaches. We come out at night and go back inside in the daytime.’ It hit me that my dad did not bring me up to be a cockroach!” Abbott started going to gay clubs, and one of her first lesbian political acts was signing a petition just to get a gay ad in the Village Voice. She then gravitated to the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) — the first post-Stonewall militant group

Sidney Abbot, 1937-2015.

— and helped form the lesbian group Lavender Menace after Betty Friedan, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), warned of a “lavender menace” she said would destroy the women’s movement. Abbott also helped found Identity House to provide peer counseling for gays and lesbians and, in 1973, was a founding board member of what was then called the National Gay Task Force (NGTF). By 1989, she was ruminating on how her almost total devotion to activism in her 30s had left her without having established a career. But she still characterized it as “the best time of our lives.” In a written statement, Love said, “I have lost a dear friend of 47 years — my partner and comrade during the most meaningful part of my life. I have lost a part of myself.” T ogether, they founded 26 consciousness-raising groups for lesbians and, along with March in 1970, wrote a manifesto called “The Woman-Identified Woman,” published in the name of their group, Radicalesbians. March recalled Abbott’s formulation that “a lesbian is the rage of all women condensed to the point of explosion.” She said, “Sidney could always be counted on to show up when needed — social worker, advocate, organizer. She moved heaven and earth… captured

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REMEMBRANCE, continued on p.42

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INTERNATIONAL

A Quick Chat During a Victory Lap A month after Irish “yes” vote, Panti Bliss, Rory O’Neill reflect on what it all meant for Ireland BY KATHLEEN WARNOCK

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PANTIBAR

ory O’Neill and his alter ego, Ireland’s “national fucking treasure” drag queen Panti Bliss, had some adventures onstage and off in their recent sojourn in New York City, less than a month after Ireland went to the polls and voted a resounding “yes” in a marriage equality referendum. Rory is currently taking Panti on a victory lap from her home turf at Dublin’s PantiBar to festivals across Ireland and around the world. Manhattan’s Irish Arts Center hosted Panti’s show, “High Heels in Low Places” for a short, sold-out run June 8-13. In addition to performing their solo play (and getting a good review from the New York Times), Rory and Panti’s escapades in Manhattan included being asked to leave the Carlyle Hotel (according to Panti’s Twitter feed), meeting Monica Lewinsky, seeing Jinkx Monsoon’s show, and being interviewed by Mx Justin Vivian Bond. “We had a great time,” said O’Neill, who flew back to Dublin immediately after the last show for another round of touring. “Though it was busy, exhausting.” While neither Panti nor Rory takes credit for the victory for equality in Ireland, O’Neill does acknowledge that the scandal called “Pantigate” was one of the things that set off the intense debate over the last 18 months in Ireland. It all started on an Irish talk show when Rory suggested that some individuals and organizations were homophobic. Both he and R TE, the Irish public television network that ran the talk show, were sued by the folks he mentioned, and the network, in the end, was required to pay out over 80,000 euros (nearly $100,000) to settle their grievances. As the scandal blew up, Panti was asked to do a Noble Call (an Irish tradition in which a speaker addresses a current topic) at the Abbey Theatre, and a video of it went viral (goo.gl/ph4jnz), sparking debate in the media, on the floor of Ireland’s Senate, and among the taxpayers, who didn’t

Panti Bliss, aka Rory O’Neill, in the Saint Pat’s For All Parade in Sunnyside and Woodside, Queens, March 2014.

care for the RTE handing over that kind of money. “I think what the Noble Call did is it sort of kicked off the debate some 18 months out from the referendum,” O’Neill said. “I think before the Noble Call, there was kind of a vague, lazy assumption that Ireland was grand about gay people. And it did start a proper debate about how Ireland treats its gay citizens, about homophobia. That was a conversation the country had not had before properly, and it was high time we had it.” Marriage equality was up for a vote because Ireland’s Supreme Court ruled that the constitutional definition of marriage was between a man and woman; in order to change that, citizens had to vote on it. “Lots of other countries have been spurred on by our vote,” O’Neill said. “But really, it would have been much easier to do it legislatively. If we could have, we would have. Every government and nongovernment [political] party was on board. We were forced to have to do it by a referendum. That was much more risky, much more difficult, and it’s kind of terrifying. If it had been a ‘no’ vote, we would have had to wait another generation to try again. “It’s also much more difficult to have a referendum because you have to have this huge public debate, have to go knocking door to door, put up posters, and see the ‘No’ posters

that were so upsetting, turning on the radio and TV every day to have those debates. It was difficult to listen to. It was not an easy way to do it. But when you’ve done it that way and you get a ‘yes’ vote, the result is much more powerful. People can’t afterwards say: ‘Oh, this was a politician-led thing.’” O’Neill used Panti’s public pulpit (PantiBar, Facebook, and Twitter) to support the movement. But previously booked tours took them out of the country during some of the run-up, and O’Neill watched from afar as the campaign strategized on both getting out the guaranteed “yes” vote and changing the minds of the wavering and as many “no’s” as possible. “I think most people saw the whole outcome of the Pantigate thing as being positive for a ‘yes’ vote,” O’Neill said. “Then as we got closer to the polling day, part of the ‘yes’ campaign’s strategy was to get a particular kind of voice out. What they were looking for was the kind of voices that don’t scare the middle ground.” The grassroots strategy worked: nearly 2 million of Ireland’s 4.8 million population turned out, and “yes” received more than 1.2 million votes, with many mobilized to go to the polls for the first time in their lives. “If we had done it legislatively or through the courts, it would have been wonderful, but we wouldn’t

have had these huge spontaneous street parties that we had,” said Rory, who took Panti through the cheering crowds down to Dublin Castle for the election results. “One thing the referendum reminded everyone here is that there really is a gay community because they worked so hard. We had 18-yearolds going door-to-door, traipsing around the country, putting posters up, having those conversations with their families and neighbors. It was also so inspiring, going out to canvass, finishing your work, then going to the place where everyone was meeting and seeing parents and straight people, straight guys with gay friends. All sorts of people. It was lovely in the end.” Giving Ireland’s younger generation the idea that they can drive change bodes well for Ireland’s future, O’Neill said. “Young people came out to vote in huge numbers, and it also introduced to a lot of young people to the idea of campaigning and organizing, and I think it’s hard to put the lid back on that. It’ll be interesting to see how this affects the next general election. Other issues are sort of bubbling up... liberal issues.” And for Panti, who is first and foremost an artist and entertainer, both the personal and the big

c

PANTI, continued on p.42

June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

13


TRIUMEQ is a once-a-day pill used to treat HIV-1. TRIUMEQ should not be used by itself in some people. Take TRIUMEQ exactly as your healthcare provider tells you. Is it time for you? Ask your doctor. APPROVED USES TRIUMEQ is a prescription medicine used to treat Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1) infection in adults. HIV-1 is the virus that causes AIDS. It is not known if TRIUMEQ is safe or effective in children under the age of 18. TRIUMEQ is not for use by itself in people who have or have had resistance to abacavir, dolutegravir, or lamivudine. TRIUMEQ does not cure HIV-1 or AIDS. You must stay on continuous HIV-1 therapy to control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illness. IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

° yellow skin, or the white part of the eyes turns yellow; dark urine;

• A buildup of acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). Lactic acidosis can happen in some people who take TRIUMEQ. This serious medical emergency can cause death. Call your healthcare provider right away if you feel very weak or tired; have unusual muscle pain; have trouble breathing; have stomach pain with nausea and vomiting; feel cold, especially in your arms and legs; feel dizzy/ light-headed; or have a fast/irregular heartbeat.

get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you start having new symptoms after starting your HIV-1 medicine.

light-colored stools; nausea; itching; or stomach-area pain. What is the most important information I should know about TRIUMEQ? • Worsening of hepatitis B virus in people who have HIV-1 infection. • Serious allergic reaction (hypersensitivity reaction). TRIUMEQ If you have HIV-1 and hepatitis B virus infections, your hepatitis virus contains abacavir. Patients taking TRIUMEQ may have a serious infection may get worse if you stop taking TRIUMEQ. Do not stop allergic reaction to abacavir that can cause death. Your risk is taking TRIUMEQ without first talking to your healthcare provider, so much higher if you have a gene variation called HLA-B*5701. Your he or she can monitor your health. healthcare provider can determine with a blood test if you have • Resistant hepatitis B virus. If you have HIV-1 and hepatitis B, the this gene variation. If you get symptoms from 2 or more of the hepatitis B virus can change (mutate) during your treatment with following groups while taking TRIUMEQ, call your healthcare TRIUMEQ and become harder to treat (resistant). provider right away: 1. fever; 2. rash; 3. nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain; 4. generally ill feeling, extreme • Use with interferon and ribavirin-based regimens. If you’re taking tiredness, or achiness; 5. shortness of breath, cough, or sore TRIUMEQ and interferon, with or without ribavirin, tell your healthcare throat. Your pharmacist will give you a Warning Card with a list of provider about any new symptoms. Liver disease might get worse in these symptoms. Carry this Warning Card with you at all times. patients who are taking HIV-1 medicines and interferon. If you stop taking TRIUMEQ because of an allergic reaction, never Who should not take TRIUMEQ? take TRIUMEQ or any other medicine that contains abacavir or • Do not take TRIUMEQ if you: dolutegravir again. If you take TRIUMEQ or any other abacavir° have the HLA-B*5701 gene variation containing medicine again after you have had an allergic reaction, ° have ever had an allergic ®reaction to abacavir, dolutegravir, or lamivudine within hours you may get life-threatening symptoms that may ° take dofetilide (Tikosyn ) include very low blood pressure or death. If you stop TRIUMEQ for ° have certain liver problems any other reason, even for a few days, and you are not allergic to What are other possible side effects of TRIUMEQ? TRIUMEQ, talk with your healthcare provider before taking it again. Taking TRIUMEQ again can cause a serious allergic or life-threatening • People with a history of hepatitis B or C virus may have an increased reaction, even if you never had an allergic reaction to it before. If your risk of developing new or worsening changes in certain liver tests healthcare provider tells you that you can take TRIUMEQ again, during treatment with TRIUMEQ. Your healthcare provider may do tests start taking it when you are around medical help or people who to check your liver function before and during treatment with TRIUMEQ. can call a healthcare provider if you need one. • When you start taking HIV-1 medicines, your immune system may

• Severe liver problems. Severe liver problems can happen in people who take TRIUMEQ. In some cases, these severe liver problems can lead to death. You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight, or have been taking nucleoside analogue medicines for a long time. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following signs or symptoms:

• Changes in body fat can happen in people who take HIV-1 medicines. • Some HIV-1 medicines, including TRIUMEQ, may increase your risk of heart attack. The most common side effects of TRIUMEQ include: trouble sleeping, headache, and tiredness. These are not all the possible side effects of TRIUMEQ. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. Important Safety Information continued on next page.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088. Please see brief summary of Prescribing Information for TRIUMEQ on the following pages.

©2014 ViiV Healthcare group of companies. All rights reserved. Printed in USA. DTR045R0 November 2014

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June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


Not an actual patient. Testimonial is based on a collection of real patient experiences.

What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking TRIUMEQ? • Before you take TRIUMEQ, tell your healthcare provider if you: ° have been tested and know whether or not you have a gene variation called HLA-B*5701. have or had liver problems, including hepatitis B or C infection; have ° kidney problems; have heart problems, smoke, or have diseases that increase your risk of heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes; drink alcoholic beverages; or have any other medical condition. ° are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if TRIUMEQ will harm your unborn baby. ° are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you take TRIUMEQ.

• Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines (for example, antacids; laxatives; vitamins such as iron or calcium supplements; anti-seizure medicines; other medicines to treat HIV-1, hepatitis, or tuberculosis; metformin; and methadone) and herbal supplements (for example, St. John’s wort). TRIUMEQ may affect the way they work, and they may affect how TRIUMEQ works.

• You should not take TRIUMEQ if you also take: or ZIAGEN) ° abacavir (EPZICOM, TRIZIVIR, ® lamivudine (COMBIVIR , EPIVIR, EPIVIR-HBV®, EPZICOM, or TRIZIVIR) ° ® ® ® ® ® ° emtricitabine (EMTRIVA , ATRIPLA , COMPLERA , STRIBILD , TRUVADA )

GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

15


BRIEF SUMMARY TRIUMEQ® (TRI-u-meck) (abacavir 600 mg/dolutegravir 50 mg/lamivudine 300 mg) tablets Read this Medication Guide before you start taking TRIUMEQ and each time you get a refill. There may be new information. This information does not take the place of talking to your healthcare provider about your medical condition or your treatment. Be sure to carry your TRIUMEQ Warning Card with you at all times. What is the most important information I should know about TRIUMEQ? • Serious allergic reaction (hypersensitivity reaction). TRIUMEQ contains abacavir (also contained in EPZICOM®, TRIZIVIR®, and ZIAGEN®). Patients taking TRIUMEQ may have a serious allergic reaction (hypersensitivity reaction) that can cause death. Your risk of this allergic reaction to abacavir is much higher if you have a gene variation called HLA-B*5701. Your healthcare provider can determine with a blood test if you have this gene variation. If you get a symptom from 2 or more of the following groups while taking TRIUMEQ, call your healthcare provider right away to find out if you should stop taking TRIUMEQ. Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4 Group 5

Symptom(s) Fever Rash Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal (stomach area) pain Generally ill feeling, extreme tiredness, or achiness Shortness of breath, cough, sore throat

A list of these symptoms is on the Warning Card your pharmacist gives you. Carry this Warning Card with you at all times. If you stop TRIUMEQ because of an allergic reaction, never take TRIUMEQ or any other medicines that contain abacavir or dolutegravir (EPZICOM, ZIAGEN, TRIZIVIR, or TIVICAY®) again. If you take TRIUMEQ or any other abacavir-containing medicine again after you have had an allergic reaction, within hours you may get life-threatening symptoms that may include very low blood pressure or death. If you stop TRIUMEQ for any other reason, even for a few days, and you are not allergic to TRIUMEQ, talk with your healthcare provider before taking it again. Taking TRIUMEQ again can cause a serious allergic or life-threatening reaction, even if you never had an allergic reaction to it before. If your healthcare provider tells you that you can take TRIUMEQ again, start taking it when you are around medical help or people who can call a healthcare provider if you need one. • Build-up of acid in your blood (lactic acidosis). Lactic acidosis can happen in some people who take TRIUMEQ. Lactic acidosis is a serious medical emergency that can lead to death. Lactic acidosis can be hard to identify early, because the symptoms could seem like symptoms of other health problems. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get the following symptoms that could be signs of lactic acidosis: • feel very weak or tired • have unusual (not normal) muscle pain • have trouble breathing • have stomach pain with nausea and vomiting • feel cold, especially in your arms and legs • feel dizzy or light-headed • have a fast or irregular heartbeat • Severe liver problems. Severe liver problems can happen in people who take TRIUMEQ. In some cases these severe liver problems can lead to death. Your liver may become large (hepatomegaly) and you may develop fat in your liver (steatosis). Call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the following signs or symptoms of liver problems: • your skin or the white part of your eyes turns yellow • dark “tea-colored” urine • light colored stools (bowel movements) • nausea • itching • stomach-area pain You may be more likely to get lactic acidosis or serious liver problems if you are female, very overweight, or have been taking nucleoside analogue medicines for a long time.

16

• Worsening of hepatitis B virus in people who have HIV-1 infection. If you have HIV-1 and hepatitis B virus infections, your hepatitis virus infection may get worse if you stop taking TRIUMEQ. To help avoid this: Take TRIUMEQ exactly as prescribed. • Do not run out of TRIUMEQ. • Do not stop TRIUMEQ without talking to your healthcare provider. • Your healthcare provider should monitor your health and do regular blood tests to check your liver for at least several months if you stop taking TRIUMEQ. • Resistant Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). If you have HIV-1 and hepatitis B, the hepatitis B virus can change (mutate) during your treatment with TRIUMEQ and become harder to treat (resistant). • Use with interferon and ribavirin-based regimens. Worsening of liver disease has happened in people infected with HIV-1 and hepatitis C virus who are taking anti-HIV medicines and are also being treated for hepatitis C with interferon with or without ribavirin. If you are taking TRIUMEQ and interferon with or without ribavirin, tell your healthcare provider if you have any new symptoms. What is TRIUMEQ? TRIUMEQ is a prescription medicine used to treat HIV-1 (Human Immunodeficiency Virustype 1) infection. TRIUMEQ contains 3 prescription medicines: abacavir (ZIAGEN), dolutegravir (TIVICAY), and lamivudine (EPIVIR®). • TRIUMEQ is not for use by itself in people who have or have had resistance to abacavir, dolutegravir, or lamivudine. It is not known if TRIUMEQ is safe and effective in children. TRIUMEQ may help: • reduce the amount of HIV-1 in your blood. This is called “viral load”. • increase the number of white blood cells called CD4+ (T) cells in your blood, which help fight off other infections. Reducing the amount of HIV-1 and increasing the CD4+ (T) cells in your blood may help improve your immune system. This may reduce your risk of death or getting infections that can happen when your immune system is weak (opportunistic infections). TRIUMEQ does not cure HIV-1 infection or AIDS. You must stay on continuous HIV-1 therapy to control HIV-1 infection and decrease HIV-related illnesses. Avoid doing things that can spread HIV-1 infection to others. • Do not share or re-use needles or other injection equipment. • Do not share personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them, like toothbrushes and razor blades. • Do not have any kind of sex without protection. Always practice safer sex by using a latex or polyurethane condom to lower the chance of sexual contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood. Ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions about how to prevent passing HIV to other people. Who should not take TRIUMEQ? Do not take TRIUMEQ if you: • have a certain type of gene variation called the HLA-B*5701 allele. Your healthcare provider will test you for this before prescribing treatment with TRIUMEQ. • have ever had an allergic reaction to abacavir, dolutegravir, or lamivudine • take dofetilide (TIKOSYN®). Taking TRIUMEQ and dofetilide (TIKOSYN) can cause side effects that may be life-threatening. • have certain liver problems What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking TRIUMEQ? Before you take TRIUMEQ, tell your healthcare provider if you: • have been tested and know whether or not you have a particular gene variation called HLA-B*5701 • have or had liver problems, including hepatitis B or C virus infection • have kidney problems • have heart problems, smoke, or have diseases that increase your risk of heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes • drink alcoholic beverages • have any other medical condition • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if TRIUMEQ will harm your unborn baby. Tell your healthcare provider if you become pregnant while taking TRIUMEQ. (continued on the next page) June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


BRIEF SUMMARY (cont’d) TRIUMEQ® (abacavir, dolutegravir, and lamivudine) tablets Pregnancy Registry. There is a pregnancy registry for women who take antiviral medicines during pregnancy. The purpose of the registry is to collect information about the health of you and your baby. Talk to your healthcare provider about how you can take part in this registry. • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed if you take TRIUMEQ. You should not breastfeed because of the risk of passing HIV-1 to your baby. It is not known if abacavir or dolutegravir passes into your breast milk. Lamivudine can pass into your breast milk and may harm your baby. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. TRIUMEQ may affect the way other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how TRIUMEQ works. You should not take TRIUMEQ if you also take: • abacavir (EPZICOM, TRIZIVIR, or ZIAGEN) • lamivudine (COMBIVIR®, EPIVIR, EPIVIR-HBV®, EPZICOM, or TRIZIVIR) • emtricitabine (EMTRIVA®, ATRIPLA®, COMPLERA®, STRIBILD®, TRUVADA®) Tell your healthcare provider if you take: • antacids, laxatives, or other medicines that contain aluminum, magnesium, sucralfate (CARAFATE®), or buffered medicines. TRIUMEQ should be taken at least 2 hours before or 6 hours after you take these medicines. • anti-seizure medicines: • oxcarbazepine (TRILEPTAL®) • phenytoin (DILANTIN®, DILANTIN®-125, PHENYTEK®) • phenobarbital • carbamazepine (CARBATROL®, EQUETRO®, TEGRETOL®, TEGRETOL®-XR, TERIL®, EPITOL®) • any other medicine to treat HIV-1 • iron or calcium supplements taken by mouth. Supplements containing calcium or iron may be taken at the same time with TRIUMEQ if taken with food. Otherwise, TRIUMEQ should be taken at least 2 hours before or 6 hours after you take these medicines. • medicines used to treat hepatitis virus infections, such as interferon or ribavirin • a medicine that contains metformin • methadone • rifampin (RIFATER®, RIFAMATE®, RIMACTANE®, RIFADIN®) • St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of your medicines with you to show to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are not sure if you take one of the medicines listed above. How should I take TRIUMEQ? • Take TRIUMEQ exactly as your healthcare provider tells you. • Do not change your dose or stop taking TRIUMEQ without talking with your healthcare provider. • Stay under the care of a healthcare provider while taking TRIUMEQ. • You can take TRIUMEQ with or without food. • If you miss a dose of TRIUMEQ, take it as soon as you remember. If it is within 4 hours of your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next dose at your regular time. Do not take 2 doses at the same time. If you are not sure about your dosing, call your healthcare provider. • Do not run out of TRIUMEQ. The virus in your blood may become resistant to other HIV-1 medicines if TRIUMEQ is stopped for even a short time. When your supply starts to run low, get more from your healthcare provider or pharmacy. • If you take too much TRIUMEQ, call your healthcare provider or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away. What are the possible side effects of TRIUMEQ? TRIUMEQ can cause serious side effects including: • See “What is the most important information I should know about TRIUMEQ?” • Changes in liver tests. People with a history of hepatitis B or C virus may have an increased risk of developing new or worsening changes in certain liver tests during treatment with TRIUMEQ. Your healthcare provider may do tests to check your liver function before and during treatment with TRIUMEQ.

GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

• Changes in your immune system (Immune Reconstitution Syndrome) can happen when you start taking HIV-1 medicines. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you start having new symptoms after starting your HIV-1 medicine. • Changes in body fat (fat redistribution) can happen in people who take HIV-1 medicines. These changes may include increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck (“buffalo hump”), breast, and around the middle of your body (trunk). Loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face may also happen. The exact cause and long-term health effects of these problems are not known. • Heart attack (myocardial infarction). Some HIV medicines including TRIUMEQ may increase your risk of heart attack. The most common side effects of TRIUMEQ include: • trouble sleeping • headache • tiredness Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of TRIUMEQ. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. How should I store TRIUMEQ? • Store TRIUMEQ at room temperature between 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C). • Store TRIUMEQ in the original bottle. • Keep the bottle of TRIUMEQ tightly closed and protect from moisture. • The bottle of TRIUMEQ contains a desiccant packet to help keep your medicine dry (protect it from moisture). Keep the desiccant packet in the bottle. Do not remove the desiccant packet. Keep TRIUMEQ and all medicines out of the reach of children. General information about the safe and effective use of TRIUMEQ Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in a Medication Guide. Do not use TRIUMEQ for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give TRIUMEQ to other people, even if they have the same symptoms that you have. It may harm them. This Medication Guide summarizes the most important information about TRIUMEQ. If you would like more information, talk with your healthcare provider. You can ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about TRIUMEQ that is written for health professionals. For more information go to www.TRIUMEQ.com or call 1-877-844-8872. What are the ingredients in TRIUMEQ? Active ingredients: abacavir, dolutegravir, and lamivudine Inactive ingredients: D-mannitol, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone, and sodium starch glycolate. The tablet film-coating contains iron oxide black, iron oxide red, macrogol/PEG, polyvinyl alcohol–part hydrolyzed, talc, and titanium oxide. This Medication Guide has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Manufactured for: by:

ViiV Healthcare GlaxoSmithKline Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 Lamivudine is manufactured under agreement from Shire Pharmaceuticals Group plc Basingstoke, UK COMBIVIR, EPIVIR, EPZICOM, TIVICAY, TRIUMEQ, TRIZIVIR, and ZIAGEN are registered trademarks of the ViiV Healthcare group of companies. EPIVIR-HBV is a registered trademark of the GSK group of companies. The other brands listed are trademarks of their respective owners and are not trademarks of the ViiV Healthcare group of companies. The makers of these brands are not affiliated with and do not endorse the ViiV Healthcare group of companies or its products. ©2014, the ViiV Healthcare group of companies. All rights reserved. Issued: August 2014 TRM:1MG

17


CRIME

Dallas BBQ Suspect’s Attorney Says Client’s Sexuality “Not an Issue” Bayna-Lehkiem El-Amin, 41, faces felony assault charges, but possibility of hate crime charges is uncertain

T

BY PAUL SCHINDLER

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NYPD

he attorney for the man arrested June 16 for the assaults on two gay men in a Chelsea restaurant told Gay City News, “His sexuality is not an issue in this case.” Bronx resident Bayna-Lehkiem El-Amin, 41, turned himself in at the 7th precinct in Lower Manhattan and was charged with two felony assaults and two attempted felony assaults in connection with attacks on two gay men, Jonathan Snipes, 32, and Ethan York-Adams, 25, at the Dallas BBQ on May 5. Although the police officer identified in the criminal complaint, Detective Richard Schneider, is a member of the NYPD Bias Incident Investigations Unit, no hate crime charges were filed. El-Amin’s attorney, Raoul Zaltzberg, said his client “is very active in the LGBT community and has worked for a long time on HIV issues,” but, citing El-Amin’s wish for privacy, would not say whether he is gay. “This is not a bias crime,” Zaltzberg said. “This is not being charged as a hate crime. It is being misportrayed that way by those making accusations against him.” El-Amin is working on meeting the $25,000 cash bail/ $75,000 bond requirement established at his arraignment, where he pled not guilty, Zaltzberg said. As Gay City News was going to press on June 24, a Department of Corrections spokesman said El-Amin had not yet posted bail. The day after the incident, Snipes told DNAinfo.com that after he accidentally spilled a drink while at Dallas BBQ the evening of the incident, “A table near us audibly started making pretty gross comments about the two of us like, ‘White faggots, spilling drinks.’” Snipes told the news website that despite the fact that he weighs only 140 pounds and that one of the men making the remarks looked to be six-foot four, he confronted them over the slurs. One of the men stood up, and the incident quickly escalated, he said. Hours after Gay City News, on the evening of May 6, first published a story online about the incident, Isaam Sharef, who had posted a roughly one-minute video of the confrontation, responded to the newspaper’s queries from earlier in the day by writing, “Snipes didn’t go to the table to confront him. He went over and punched the guy in the face. Then the guy got up and attacked him.” Sharef did not respond to a follow-up question as to whether he had witnessed anything prior to Snipes’ punch. Neither Snipes nor York-Adams responded to messages left for them about the incident. The NYPD did not respond to multiple

A photo released by the NYPD of the suspect police identified as Bayna-Lehkiem El-Amin.

Being a “homophobe,” El-Amin said, is “about the furthest thing from the truth about me.” requests for comment about whether it viewed the assaults as hate crimes, but out gay State Senator Brad Hoylman told Gay City News hours after El-Amin’s arrest, “I’ve confirmed with NYPD that this incident is still being investigated as a hate crime.” Another source who was briefed on the police thinking about a hate crime charge told Gay City News that the NYPD and the Manhattan district attorney’s office have not come to a consensus on whether a hate crime prosecution can be successfully mounted. Zaltzberg told Gay City News that the assaults had “never been looked at as a bias incident,” but when reminded that a bias unit detective was named in the complaint, he said, “Well, it’s not now.” The criminal complaint describes the confrontation between Snipes and York-Adams and their attacker in details that were evident from the video posted online by Sharef. “Infor mant#1,” who would be Snipes, “observed the defendant, while wearing shoes, kick him in the head repeatedly, causing swelling and substantial pain,” according to the complaint. The complaint also says that Snipes “observed the defendant pick up a chair and strike an individual known to the District Attorney’s Office (informant#2) in the head with said chair and also strike informant#1 in the head with the chair.” That, the complaint continues, caused “substantial pain, and cuts and bruises to informant#1’s face and body.” Turning to information from York-Adams,

the complaint says that “the defendant’s abovedescribed actions caused informant#2 to lose consciousness, caused a cut to informant#2’s head, swelling, and substantial pain.” In the video clip posted by Sharef, a large bald and bearded man who appeared to be a light-skinned African-American was kicking Snipes on two occasions as others in the restaurant pulled the two men apart. After the second confrontation, York-Adams steered Snipes away from his attacker. At that point, the attacker broke free from those restraining him, picked up a chair, and bashed both Snipes and York-Adams over the head, with YorkAdams appearing to take the worst of it, falling to the ground. Snipes sat down, apparently dazed by the attack. Snipes’ mother, Trish Snipes, who spoke to Gay City News from her home in Alabama on May 6, said her son told her that a waitress at Dallas BBQ, whom she described as having a ponytail, urged the attacker to “hurry up and leave before the police arrive.” The man in the video is seen leaving the restaurant immediately after smashing the chair over Snipes and YorkAdams’ heads. Eric Levine, whom the restaurant identified as its spokesperson for the incident, did not return an email seeking comment on the attack and the allegation that an employee may have helped the attacker elude capture. On May 19, El-Amin was named as the suspect in the case and identified as the man seen in the restaurant’s surveillance video about 45 minutes before the assault, and at that time multiple media reports cited NYPD sources as saying he had a total of 18 previous arrests — on charges including assault, shoplifting, drug possession, credit-card fraud, forgery, and possession of stolen property — in more than half a dozen states. The New York Daily News quoted NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce saying police suspected that El-Amin had fled the state. It was nearly a month later that El-Amin surrendered. During the time El-Amin was at large, several online sources reported that a Facebook page they say is El-Amin’s indicated he is gay, but Gay City News has been unable to confirm that independently. On June 4, 12 days before El-Amin turned himself in, the G List website, identifying him as “a New York HIV/ AIDS counselor and ballroom community leader,” quoted El-Amin as saying he was “disappointed” that the gay-bashing “card” had been played and that “certain members of the LGBT community” had called him a “homophobe,” a charge he said was “about the furthest thing from the truth about me.” El-Amin’s next court date is July 15, at which time his indictment will likely be formally filed. June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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intact façade — which will now be protected by the city — could have yielded to someone like retailer “Marc Jacobs putting in a glass storefront.” The city designation protects the façade for the first time — something that none of its other historic designations, on both the National and the New York State Register of Historic Places — accomplished. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Pr eservation under Andrew Berman picked up the cause in earnest over a year ago, hoping the new mayor, Bill de Blasio, and the new Commission chair, Meenakshi Srinivasan, would take a fresh look at the issue. Srinivasan credited her research staff and the many advocates they heard from. She lauded the Rebellion for “liberating millions of LGBT people all over the nation” and said she hoped “everyone will celebrate” the designation. A resident of the Village herself, Srinivasan said that she is open to designating other such cultural and historical landmarks for all communities. There was a push

STONEWALL, from p.4

place there. “Please do this.” The Commission has been reluctant to landmark sites of purely cultural or historical significance, focusing more on preserving the city’s architectural heritage. The sites of the original Stonewall Inn — 51 Christopher Street (a nail salon) and number 53 next door (a newer bar also called the Stonewall) — were built as stables in the 1840s and were combined into a commercial space in 1930, opening as the Stonewall Inn restaurant in 1934 and as a gay bar in 1967 using the same name. Much credit for this push is being given to Jay Shockley, who started advocating for its designation as a Commission staffer in 2009, and has since retired after 35 years there. He works with the newly formed New York City LGBT Historic Sites Project to push for more official recognition of locations of historical and cultural rather than architectural interest. In an increasingly gentrified West Village, he worried that Stonewall’s

c

CLINIC, from p.8

health department believed it already had a deal on June 3. The clinic, one of nine the city health department operates, was vital because Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen have the highest rate of syphilis infections in the city. That high syphilis rate is unchanged since 2007. Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen also have the highest rate of new HIV diagnoses in the city. The syphilis and HIV rates in those neighborhoods result almost entirely from new infections among gay and bisexual men. The two neighbor hoods also have high rates of gonorrhea and hepatitis C.

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GAY CITY NEWS

Councilmember Corey Johnson, addressing the rally, said there’s a “fighting chance” of securing the $10 million advocates are pressing for.

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at this hearing for future consideration of Julius’ bar on West 10th Street, the LGBT Community Center on West 13th Street, and 99 Wooster Street, where a converted firehouse was employed by the Gay Activists Alliance and other groups for political organizing and social life for several years after Stonewall, until it was destroyed by arsonists. A parade of political leaders and their aides spoke out for the designation, including Public Advocate Tish James and gay Councilmember Corey Johnson, whose district is home to Stonewall. “We must preserve the building not just for the LGBT community, but for every community,” James said. “Every community needs to understand the story of the Rebellion and of standing up for individual rights.” Johnson spoke of his first trip to New York at 17 and recalled heading to the Stonewall right off the bus. “The sense of wonder I had as a young person,” he said, was something he wants future generations to be able to experience.

The Chelsea clinic was also expected to be an important resource in the Plan to End AIDS that aims to reduce HIV infections in New York from roughly 3,000 annually to 750 a year by 2020. People who have recently contracted a sexually transmitted disease may be at high risk for acquiring HIV. Such people could be candidates for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which involves the use of anti-HIV drugs by HIV-negative people to keep them uninfected. The June 16 statement quoted Charles King, the chief executive at Housing Works, an AIDS group, who conceived of the plan with Har rington. On Facebook, some ACT UP members continued to express skepticism though in a quieter

BUDGET, from p.8

(PEP), and treatment as prevention (TasP) to prevent new HIV infections. PrEP involves the consistent use of anti-HIV drugs by uninfected people to prevent them from becoming infected. PEP is a 28-day course of anti-HIV drugs that prevents infection in someone with a recent exposure. TasP reduces the amount of virus in HIV-positive people so they cannot infect others. All three drug regimens are highly effective when taken correctly.

Leading preservationists also spoke up for the designation, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation (which is considering it as a possible National Treasure), the Historic Districts Council made up of community groups from across the city, and Andrew Scott Dolkart, director of the historic preservation program at Columbia University. Dolkart was the lead author in the effort to get the Stonewall designated as the first LGBT site ever listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999, and thereafter as a National Historic Landmark. “This hearing has been a long time coming,” he said. Ken Lustbader, a preservation consultant whose Columbia thesis more than two decades ago was titled “Landscape of Liberation: Preserving Gay and Lesbian History in Greenwich Village,” said, “The façade is a vernacular architectural expression of LGBT history in New York City.” The building exterior, with its unique windows, he said, embodies “the story of police hostility and mafia control.”

voice than they used previously. “All of these are improvements and some are solid programs that strengthen local institutions,” Jim Eigo, an ACT UP member, wrote on Facebook. “But adding abstract testing capacity in the general geographic area does not in and of itself replace the fragile ecosystem of a clinic and its people! And current light traffic at mobile testing vans deployed in the area suggest [sic] that, 90 days after the clinic closing, the city’s belated bandaids have barely begun to stanch a wound.” The health department had contacted Eigo to contribute a quote to the June 16 statement, but he got their message too late and he was not quoted.

In an email, a City Hall spokesperson wrote, “Mayor de Blasio is deeply committed to ending the AIDS epidemic and has made key investments on the city-level, such as fully funding the HASA 30 percent rent cap. We are awaiting details on State funding for the blueprint and how it will be spent. Once we have those details, we will assess potential City funding.” Last year, the state and city agreed to cap the rent paid by people with AIDS living in publicly-subsidized housing at 30 percent of

their income. AIDS groups had long sought this protection for people with AIDS. The city is paying two-thirds of the cost and the state is covering the rest. To date, the benefit has cost the city at least $22 million. On June 23, as the de Blasio administration and the City Council were finalizing the 2016 budget, a source close to the negotiations told Gay City News, “The city is going to make a contribution toward the ending the epidemic plan, but the final number has not been determined yet.” June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

23


FAMILY

Upstate Lesbian Co-Parent Denied Standing to Seek Custody

On View May 29 – October 2, 2015

Reliance on 25-year-old precedent suggests Albany action needed BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD

For related tours and programs, visit www.mjhnyc.org/npoh. Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933–1945 was produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, whose exhibitions program is supported in part by the Lester Robbins and Sheila Johnson Robbins Traveling and Special Exhibitions Fund established in 1990. The New York presentation is made possible in part through the generous support of the Charles and Mildred Schnurmacher Foundation.

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Solidarity, by RichaRd GRune, 1947. SchwuleS MuSeuM, Berlin.

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elying on a quarter century-old New York Court of Appeals precedent under which a same-sex co-parent is considered a “legal stranger” to a child she was raising with her former partner, the Appellate Division’s Fourth Department has affirmed a Chautauqua County Family Court decision dismissing a custody and visitation petition from one such ex-partner. The appeals panel upheld Judge Judith S. Claire’s dismissal of Brooke S. Barone’s petition on June 19. Barone and Elizabeth Chapman were same-sex partners jointly parenting Chapman’s biological son, though the couple did not marry nor did Barone adopt the child. After they broke up, Barone filed her petition seeking to have the Family Court determine custody and visitation issues. The court appointed R. Thomas Rankin, a Jamestown attorney, to represent the interest of the child. Barone represented herself in the proceeding. Chapman filed a motion to dismiss the petition, arguing that Barone lacked standing because she had no legal relationship to the child. Rankin opposed the motion on behalf of the child, arguing that the child’s best interests should be “paramount” over legal formalities, and that “the standing accorded to parents should extend to those who have a recognized and operative parent-child relationship, regardless of their sexual orientation.” Rankin further argued that the court should use a legal doctrine known as equitable estoppel, under which a legal parent who has fostered and encouraged her unmarried partner to form a relationship with her child should be forbidden by the court to deny that reality by raising an objection based on standing. Finding herself bound by the 1991 precedent, Judge Claire dismissed the petition. The Appellate Division was

dismissive of Rankin’s argument, citing another appellate ruling that stated, “The Court of Appeals has recently reiterated that a nonbiological, nonadoptive parent does not have standing to seek visitation when a biological parent who is fit opposes it, and that equitable estoppel does not apply in such situations even where the nonparent has enjoyed a close relationship with the child and exercised some matter of control over the child with the parent’s consent.” The panel cited the 1991 decision in Alison D. v. Virginia M. by the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest bench, which established a “brightline test” that it considers binding precedent. The appeals panel concluded, “We reiterate that, as the Court of Appeals unequivocally stated, ‘any change in the meaning of “parent” under our law should come by way of legislative enactment rather than judicial revamping of precedent.’” Some courts in New York have recently departed from Alison D. in cases involving married samesex couples, finding that when a married woman bears a child, her spouse should be presumed to be the child’s legal parent. It is significant and troubling, however, that the Court of Appeals hasn’t yet ruled on such a case. Just last month, the Appellate Division’s Second Department in Brooklyn ruled that the parental presumption does not apply to a lesbian couple, affirming a Nassau County family court ruling that the non-biological mother has no standing to seek joint custody for the child born to her same-sex spouse. That result is clearly at odds with the intention of the 2011 Marriage Equality Act, which purported to make married samesex couples alike in every legal sense to different-sex couples. The Legislature has work to do, both to guarantee a true equal footing for married same-sex couples, but as importantly to take appropriate account of the full array of nontraditional families in New York. June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

25


HOUSING

Court Says US Housing Law May Allow Sexual Orientation Bias Claims “Not gay” man establishes important point before federal judge, but does not himself benefit BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD

A

federal judge in Alabama has ruled that some sexual orientation discrimination claims may be made under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), a statute that forbids sex discrimination by owners and operators of residential housing facilities. District Judge William M. Acker, Jr., ruling on June 16, rejected the argument that the court would not have jurisdiction over any sexual orientation discrimination claim under the FHA. James Earl Thomas filed suit against Carlos Osegueda, a regional director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Christian Newsome, a claims investigator, for refusing to process his discrimination claim. Acker’s decision says little about the nature of the underlying claim, other than that Thomas claims he

was discriminated against by Aletheia House, a recipient of federal housing funds, “because he is not gay.” According to Acker, Thomas claimed that “he was discriminated against based on his conformity to male stereotypes, such as stereotypes regarding cooking and buying furniture.” The reference to male stereotypes is significant, since some courts have found a basis for extending sex discrimination protections to plaintiffs making sexual orientation discrimination claims based on the sex stereotyping theory. Thomas filed a petition seeking a court order directing Osegueda and Newsome to process his claim. On January 26, Acker ordered the two HUD officials to explain why a hearing on the matter was not required. On March 13, they responded, asking Acker to reconsider and to dismiss Thomas’ petition for lack of jurisdiction. The FHA, they argued,

“does not give” the agency “jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute complaints raising allegations of discrimination based on sexual orientation.” Acker noted that in the past courts had routinely dismissed sexual orientation discrimination claims under federal sex discrimination statutes, but that HUD “has taken several steps to clarify and reinforce the fact that certain acts of discrimination based on sexual orientation are in fact within its jurisdiction.” Congress has never amended any of the federal sex discrimination laws to explicitly add “sexual orientation” to the forbidden grounds for discrimination, but, Acker wrote, “HUD has taken an increasingly expansive view of its delegated authority under the FHA relating to discrimination based on sexual orientation.” In 2010, HUD issued an internal guidance document stating that “while the [FHA] does not spe-

cifically include sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited bases… [an] LGBT person’s experience with sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination may still be covered by the [FHA].” In February 2012, HUD “published a final regulation, the Equal Access Rule, to implement ‘policy to ensure that its core programs are open to all eligible individuals and families regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status,’” Acker noted. “The core provision of this new rule revised the eligibility requirements for HUD-assisted or insured housing to now require ‘such housing shall be made available without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.’” Specifically, the judge noted, HUD took the position that “certain complaints from LGBT persons

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ALABAMA, continued on p.36

At this year's Pride, God's Love We Deliver will mark 30 years of serving the community by honoring the late, great Joan Rivers. Our theme for Pride this year says it all: Joan, Forever in our Hearts! Join God’s Love staff, volunteers, partner Whole Foods Market™ and sponsors Dr. Praeger’s, The Corcoran Group, and Volvic USA on June 28 for the 46th Heritage of Pride March. Sign up at GodsLoveWeDeliver.org/FeedYourPride

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June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


Don’t Miss the First-Ever Staten Island Yankees Pride Night! MONDAY, JULY 6TH

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GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

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sing the national anthem before the game FOR TICKETS: Contact Brian Levine 718-313-1322 blevine@siyanks.com or go to www.siyanks.com/pride Pride Night Presented by:

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The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce

LGBTQ Network

Salutes Gay Pride

PUBLIC ADVOCACY

Photo Essay by Donna Aceto | In a June 15 ceremony produced in tandem with Harlem Pride, Public Advocate Letitia James honored three LGBT leaders for their community service. Above, James is with Carl Siciliano, founder and executive director of the Ali Forney Center, which provides housing and social services for LGBT homeless youth across the city. At bottom right is honoree Alexis McSween from Bottomline Construction and Development, whom James recognized for her success in creating affordable housing in Harlem. At bottom left is Brooke Guinan, the FDNY’s first openly transgender female firefighter. Guinan is also seen with her father, FDNY Lieutenant George Guinan, James, and (from l.), George’s girlfriend Lynne and FDNY Assistant Commissioner Michele J. Maglione. Bronx activist Donna Sue Johnson is seen in the inset at the top; and James L. Goode Jr., aka Junior LaBeija of “Paris Is Burning” fame, is inset below. The event was held at Hyacinth's Haven on Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Boulevard.

Find out how the Chamber supports LGBT owned business and professionals through its Business Accelerator Program, professional networking, member benefits, business advocacy, and other programs. For more information, visit us at:

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June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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FAMILY

New York Court Rejects Challenge to Gay Man’s Will Break-up of couple who had commitment ceremony was no “divorce” invalidating ex-partner’s inheritance BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD

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Manhattan Surrogate Court has rejected a challenge to the will of a gay man who had designated his then-lover as its executor and a principal beneficiary several years before they broke up. Surrogate Nora Anderson, on June 16, dismissed efforts by Mauricio Leyton’s mother and sister to disqualify the former partner, David Hunter, based on a New York statute providing that a “former spouse” cannot inherit. Leyton made the will in 2001, and a year later the two men held a commitment ceremony. Leyton and Hunter had been friends for a decade when Leyton signed his will on January 11, 2001. In addition to making Hunter his executor, Leyton left him all of his personal property and onehalf of the rest of the estate not otherwise bequeathed, which ultimately included real property. The will referred to Hunter as “my partner David,” according to a June 23 story about the case in the New York Law Journal. In 2002, the men had a commitment ceremony, which they described in printed invitations as a “Ceremony of Union and Commitment.” In the service, the officiant said that the couple were entering a “state of companionship, compromise, creativity, and commitment that the world recognizes as marriage.” The officiant also noted that the state did not recognize this union, but commented, “Fortunately, this is of no importance.” Leyton and Hunter never registered as New York City domestic partners — the one legal option open to them at that time — and they stopped living together around 2008. They seemed to have remained close friends, however, owning some property jointly and maintaining some joint accounts.

They signed a document at the time of their break-up in which, according to the Law Jour nal account, Leyton “expressed interest in buying out Hunter’s ownership in a cooperative apartment and lending Hunter $40,000 to buy another apartment.” They also co-owned property on Long Island as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. After New York passed its Marriage Equality Law in 2011, Leyton served as the official witness when Hunter married another man. Through all this time, Leyton never revoked the original will or signed a new one. In late 2013, while traveling, he suffered a fatal heart attack. Hunter filed the will for probate in 2014, and Leyton’s mother and sister, residents of Chile, sought to contest his appointment as executor and his status as a beneficiary. The court, they argued, should treat Hunter as a divorced spouse, emphasizing the words of the commitment ceremony’s officiant. But for New York’s unconstitutional refusal to allow same-sex marriage at the time, the men would have been married, they maintained. On this point, they relied on a recent Connecticut Supreme Court decision, which accepted such a “would have been married” argument by the survivor of a lesbian relationship in a medical malpractice claim. Surrogate Anderson did not mention the Connecticut case in her opinion, focusing entirely on New York law. Hunter, she noted, said that in 2002 the couple’s commitment ceremony was not recognized in state law as a marriage, so “his subsequent break with decedent therefore was not ‘separation,’ ‘abandonment,’ or ‘divorce’ within the meaning of the statutes cited by” Leyton’s mother and sister. Noting that the state’s highest court had rejected

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INHERITANCE, continued on p.36

June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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LEADERS IN THE DRIVE FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Photo Essay by Donna Aceto | At a June 16 cocktail reception that featured two of the activists who have helped herald in the nation’s growing embrace of marriage equality, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and AIDS Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union hosted both Edie Windsor, the successful plaintiff in the 2013 challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and James Obergefell, who is the named plaintiff in the appeal currently before the Supreme Court of a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that overturned marriage victories in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Obergefell, who delivered the keynote address at what was the 17th annual such Pride reception hosted by the ACLU and the NYCLU, filed suit in Ohio to have the death certificate of his late husband, John Arthur, notated to reflect that he was married. The two men had traveled to Maryland in 2013 to get married, several months before Arthur succumbed to Lou Gehrig's disease. The federal district court in Cincinnati ruled that Ohio must recognize the men’s out-of-state marriage, despite its 2004 ban on marriage by same-sex couples. The Sixth Circuit, also based in Cincinnati, overturned that ruling, along with other pro-equality victories in Michigan, Tennessee, and Kentucky in November, setting the stage for the Supreme Court case expected to be settled in the next several days. Obergefell is seen here alone, greeting Windsor, and with James Esseks, who heads up the ACLU’s LGBT and AIDS Project, and Donna Lieber15.PR.3958_2.qxp_Layout 1 6/1/15 man, the executive director of the NYCLU.1:32 PM Page 1

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June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

33


INTERNATIONAL

With Striking Global Solidarity, Europride Shines in Latvia Five thousand strong march in Riga, with robust security protection and subdued opposition BY MICHAEL LUONGO

T

June 20 was a day when gay men could kiss in Vermanes Darzs.

MICHAEL LUONGO

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MICHAEL LUONGO

he Europride March had come just a few paces from its stepping off point in the lushly green Vermanes Darzs, a park near Riga’s Old City ador ned this day with balloons, rainbows, and banners in a multitude of languages. Abba’s disco classic “Dancing Queen” blared from loudspeakers as Kaspars Zalitis, co-chair of Riga Europride 2015, turned the corner from Elizabetes Iela into Brivibas Iela and, with a smile breaking out across his face, shouted, “Now, you are now on Freedom Street!” Zalitis was referring to the literal translation of Brivibas Iela — Riga’s most important boulevard, famed for its art nouveau structures, monuments, and even the notorious former KGB headquarters — but the statement transcended the mere physical location. Nearly 5,000 people were flowing behind him, a great number of them not from Latvia, but from other countries of the European Union, from the United States, and even from neighboring Russia, where Vladimir Putin has persecuted the LGBT community. The June 20 event was one that many worried would never happen. Karlis Streips, a LatvianAmerican TV personality, famous as the first openly gay man in that Baltic nation, said, “I am thinking I am going to have to crawl somewhere and have a good cry, this is such a triumph.” There were few protestors. Kristine Garina — who with Zalitis, is a co-chair of both Europride and Mozaika, Latvia’s LGBT rights group — put the number of naysayers at just 40, though that might have included only those holding signs or visibly gesturing in contempt. Opponents of the LGBT community were scattered along the march’s 2.2 kilometer route and at the entrances to Vermanes Darzs, where a rally followed. A 22-year -old woman named Victoria was among the march’s opponents, holding up a protest sign in English. Traveling to Riga

Singer and songwriter Steve Grand and Randy Berry, the State Department’s special envoy for LGBT rights.

from her home in Aizpute, a town more than 100 miles away, she commented, “If they can say something, I can say something.” Most protest signs were in Latvian, with a few in Russian. Many of those against the parade merely waved their hands with thumbs down repeatedly, something for which no translation was needed. An extremely robust security force was present, from police to riot squads in heavy black gear. Past LGBT gatherings in Riga were met with threats of violence and even incidents of feces being flung at marchers, but there were no incidents of note, outside the report of one protestor burning a Rainbow Flag, something this reporter did not witness.

Berlin drag personality Shiaz Legz, known for a Conchita Wurst parody, had earlier expressed apprehension about appearing in a dress during the march, choosing instead standard street clothing and hair woven through with flowers. Afterward, Legz commented, “I think it wouldn’t be a problem and I didn’t feel in danger, but you are obviously more exposed as a drag queen. I really wanted to do it in drag, and I really feel I could have. I had goosebumps the whole way down.” A small group of gay Swedish police officers marched in uniform, Stockholm cop Martin Marmgren explaining, “To use uniforms in our march, we needed permission. The Swedish police

have realized this is an important human rights proposal.” Marmgren said he hoped the intense security surrounding the march did not keep away people on either side of the question of LGBT rights, but he noted that police participation in protecting a march helps officers better understand the community. “When you are doing a Pride Parade, you want the police to be part of the change in attitude,” he said. For Linda Curika, one of Mozaika’s founders, the change was evident. Saying she thought the march went off better than expected, she explained, “There always will be concerns, even if the police are doing a good job. The population now is changing, though. In the past we had fences [along the march route], and now we have happy people on the side, and we can see them and they can see us.” Curika was struck by the youth of some of the anti-gay protesters. “It’s the churches or maybe the neo-Nazis, one or the other,” she said. “I am surprised by it, especially the young women. At the same time, there are little old ladies with Rainbow Flags waving on the street.” The greatest change, though, might have been the fact that Mozaika was permitted to march on Brivibas Iela, or Freedom Street, Curika said. “The first year with the police, there was no way, and suddenly, we are marching on it and it’s fine,” she said. Mozaika co-chair Zalitis said, “It’s a dream come true. There are too many emotions bubbling. It’s the first time in a long time I am proud of my country. I am talking about 5,000 people in a parade in Latvia.” A strong international diplomatic presence was a big part not only of the rally and march but other Europride events over the weekend, including several conferences, art openings, and other cultural presentations. The American presence was led by Sharon Hudson-Dean, the chargé d’affaires ad interim who leads the

c

EUROPRIDE, continued on p.40

June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

35


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INHERITANCE, from p.30

a constitutional claim of samesex marriage rights, Anderson wrote “it is the province of the Legislature to decide questions regarding same-sex marriage. Here, petitioners seek to have this court apply the Marriage Equality Act retroactively to the commitment ceremony, deeming that ceremony as formalizing a marriage and the subsequent separation as a divorce.” Since the Legislature did not authorize same-sex marriage at

c

ALABAMA, from p.26

would be covered by the Fair Housing Act… including discrimination because of nonconformity with gender stereotypes.” The agency also explained that it could investigate and enforce such claims “as sex discrimination.” In an “interpretive document” published in August 2014, HUD offered, as an example of such a claim, the harassment of a gay man by a maintenance worker at a public housing complex because of his effeminate demeanor. The task before Acker, then, was to determine whether “HUD’s interpretation of its authority squares with the statutory language of the FHA” — and he concluded that it did, so long as HUD did not seek to assert its jurisdiction to sexual orientation claims that did not include a plausible allegation of sex stereotyping. The sex stereotyping theory was recognized as early as 1989 by the US Supreme Court, in a case of a masculine-acting woman challenging Price Waterhouse’s refusal to make her a partner. Since then, and most emphatically since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, federal agencies have advanced the sex stereotyping theory to find a basis for protecting gay and transgender people. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, recently sent a memorandum to its regional offices similarly suggesting that they could accept employment discrimination claims from gay people using this theory in appropriate cases,

36

the time Hunter and Leyton had their commitment ceremony, the petitioners did not have a valid argument, Anderson concluded. “This court cannot deem the commitment ceremony to have sanctified a marriage, so decedent and the executor cannot be deemed to be divorced,” she wrote, granting Hunter’s motion to dismiss the petition. Stanley Ackert III, who represented the mother and sister, Fidelisa Eliana Latorre Figueroa and Ana Marie Leyton Lattore, is contemplating filing an appeal.

and some federal district courts have refused to dismiss Title VII sex discrimination charges filed by gay men using this theory. “These types of expanded protections for such individuals under the FHA is directly rooted in non-conformity with male or female gender stereotypes, and not directly derivative of sexual orientation as an independent and separate ground for protection,” wrote Acker. “Considering the deference due by the court to agency interpretations, HUD’s narrow tailoring of jurisdiction for discrimination based on sexual orientation to protections for gender stereotyping in its interpretation of the FHA is a permissible reading of ‘sex.’” However, this conclusion was no help to James Earl Thomas, who had alleged discrimination under a housing program because he “is not gay.” “Thomas does not petition under a theory of gender non-conformity but rather relies on sexual orientation as the sole basis for discrimination separate and independent of gender,” wrote Acker, emphasizing that Thomas claimed he was discriminated against because of his “conformity to male stereotypes,” not because of a departure from such stereotypes. There is a certain illogic here. If a man suffers discrimination because he conforms to male stereotypes, wouldn’t that be a form of sex discrimination? But, as Acker pointed out, Thomas insisted he was suffering discrimination because “he is not gay,” and so was claiming sexual orientation discrimination, not sex discrimination. June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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ADVOCACY

Carrying His Uncle’s Torch Undimmed In Latvia for Europride, Stuart Milk argues there’s no turning off the lights on the LGBT movement BY MICHAEL LUONGO

A

MICHAEL LUONGO: What do you remember most about your uncle before he was assassinated? STUART MILK: My relationship with my uncle began in earnest in 1972, when he was co-producing with Tom O'Horgan “Jesus Christ Superstar” on Br oadway. He brought me for one of the previews. We had this discussion after the performance. He said, “Who do you want to meet? And do you want to meet Jesus Christ?” You have to realize I came from a Jewish family, so it was kind of odd that we’re even having that discussion. But I said I wanted to meet King Herod, and he said why? And I said because he’s wearing lady’s shoes. And he kind of looked at me funny. And then he began this whole discussion with me, it was really like a light clicked on in him. He did eventually tell his friends in San Francisco, including the co-founder of the Milk Foundation, his campaign manager Anne Kronenberg, that I was gay. He never, ever brought that up with me. He just brought up that my dif ferences were important. I was 12 when we had the first conversation. He gave me this book called “Seven Arrows,” a Native American anthology, asking me to read the story of Jumping Mouse, a mouse that was different

38

MICHAEL LUONGO

mong the high-profile international figures who headlined the rally and other events at this past weekend’s Europride in Riga, Latvia, was Stuart Milk, the nephew of assassinated LGBT activist Harvey Milk, a San Francisco city supervisor gunned down in 1978. The younger Milk, born in 1960, now works to maintain and build on his uncle’s legacy; in 2009 Stuart, in tandem with Anne Kronenberg — who worked hand in glove with Harvey in his political efforts — established the Harvey Milk Foundation. In Riga, Stuart Milk spoke with Gay City News about his uncle and the future of LGBT activism.

Stuart Milk marching in Europride 2015 in Riga, Latvia.

from other mice, something like a 15,000 year-old-story. He wrote in the book, “You and all your differences is the medicine that will heal the world even when the world doesn’t recognize that.” So it really gave me my compass. I began a relationship with my uncle that was probably more important to me than with my father. I’ll tell you something that I don’t talk about that often: it caused a lot of friction between my father and my uncle. So even though my uncle was supported by my parents and my father for his gay activism, the fact that I had this close relationship really was worrisome to my parents. You have to think of the time, the early ‘70s, and so even though they were supportive of him, they were supportive in that context of that time, which is they’re not going to go out and carry banners with him. Most of my conversations with my uncle were about my feeling different from everyone else and how important that was and kind of the way of the world. And he would talk to me for hours

about that. When he started campaigning, he’d say, “I went to an event where a thousand people hated me, and when I left, 998 people hated me.” And I remember getting that from him and calling him and saying, “Why are you so happy about 998 people hating you?” He said, “Because two didn’t, and those two will become four.” He loved having those conversations with me. I would challenge him, too. I would even say to my uncle, at my grandfather’s funeral, at his father’s funeral, I said to him, “I don’t think you should be as out and loud as you are.” So typical of my uncle, this would be a conversation with Harvey. “Oh, I agree with you.” And he would do this hand signal, like let’s take that off the table. And then he would spend the next two hours telling me why it was important for him to be loud and out, and convince me. He did that even in public debates on Proposition 6, the Briggs Initiative, which would have stopped gay people from working in California schools. John Briggs

would say something about well, education is, the educational system brings out morality in students. And my uncle would say, “Yeah, I agree with you. And this is why we need to have gay teachers.” It was his style. He was really very charismatic in conversation, and he enjoyed having a conversation with meaning and depth. ML: Did having Harvey as your uncle make it easier to come out? SM: In some ways it made it harder. Well, coming out, not necessarily to the family, when he was killed, I came out to everybody. That’s when I found out he knew I was gay. I don’t know why I thought he didn’t know. In 1979, I started doing LGBT activism and even worked with Frank Kameny briefly. Frank asked me to speak at the 1979 DC Pride e v e nt , which had like 200 people. Ella Fitzgerald, this drag queen, was our biggest personality we had there. But my first time speaking as an openly gay relative of Harvey, he said, and I love Frank, but

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MILK, continued on p.112

June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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MICHAEL LUONGO

Stockholm police officer Martin Marmgren.

MICHAEL LUONGO

Linda Curika, a founder of Mozaika.

40

mission at the US Embassy there, and Randy Berry, the out gay State Department envoy for LGBT human rights. They were joined by the ambassadors from the United Kingdom, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden. H u d s o n - D e a n s a i d , “ We ’ r e thrilled it went so well,” and lauded the “very good support from law enforcement.” The Latvian government also participated in Europride events, with Baiba Braze, an ambassador who has security policy responsibilities in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, speaking at the June 19 Freedom Conference. There, Braze read a statement from Edgars Rinkevics, Latvia’s foreign minister who recently made history by coming out as gay. Both Hudson-Dean and Berry marched and spoke from the rally stage, along with Stuart Milk, nephew of slain LGBT activist Harvey Milk and co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation. “I think this has been an inspiration to see so many Latvians out and see the symbolism and the support of the Latvian police, but likely they were not very needed,” Berry said. “I feel very hopeful when you see change.” New Yorker David Schneider was also on hand, representing Heritage of Pride, which organizes Pride Week, including the June 28 march, in Manhattan. “I think this is wonderful compared to Warsaw in 2010,” Schneider said, referring to the first Europride held in a former Soviet bloc nation that was marred by violence. “There was no violence against it. I think Latvia is more accepting. Any Pride I go to where they don’t throw a Molotov cocktail at me is a good Pride.” Unlike Poland, however, Latvia, along with its Baltic neighbors Lithuania and Estonia, was actually a part of the Soviet Union until 1991. Riga, long one of Imperial Russia’s most important seaports, has a big conservative Russian population, which makes the city a tense potential flashpoint in Putin’s efforts to expand his nation’s influence. That context was on the minds of many who traveled to Riga for Europride. One of the rally speakers was

MICHAEL LUONGO

MICHAEL LUONGO

Berlin drag star Shiaz Legz.

EUROPRIDE, from p.34

Europride co-chairs Kristine Garina and Kaspars Zalitis with TV star Karlis Streips on the rally stage.

Olena Shevchenko, active with the Ukrainian LGBT group Insight. She said, “I feel a big pride for everything that is happening here because unfortunately in the Ukraine, we do not have this. I think maybe in five or six years, it will become possible. I personally want to have Europride in the Ukraine.” The rally headliner was out gay singer/ songwriter Steve Grand, who also headlined Europride’s official closing party at the Palladium dance club later that evening. Waving a rainbow flag over his head while singing, he exclaimed, “This is why I am here.” Grand, who was on a tour of several European nations under the auspices of the State Department, ran a workshop for local Latvian musicians, where he talked about how he combined LGBT activism with his music. Grand said that in talking to locals, he heard things familiar from his conservative, religious upbringing in suburban Chicago. “I recognize the same fears, the same level of discomfort in the people that I recognized growing up,” he said. N e w Yo r k d r a g p e r f o r m e r Peppermint, making her second trip to Latvia, was also a Europride headliner. “It’s a different feeling because it’s Pride. Emotional, poignant, and so unexpected. The gravity of everything is a little bit of a different feeling from the New York Pride. I feel we are about to cross a threshold here that we crossed long ago in New York, and that is a new feeling for me.” That Riga is a new frontier in the battle for LGBT rights was highlighted, as well, by

Irene Hemelaar, the director of Amsterdam’s Gay Pride, which will serve as host for Europride 2016. “This year, Europride is a Pride of action,” she said. “It is so special to be a part of this Pride.” Her hands motioning toward the audience enjoying the rally, holding hands, kissing lovers, wearing temporary rainbow tattoos on their cheeks, Hemelaar continued, “In Riga, people can’t sit like this in daily life. People don’t realize this living in Amsterdam today. It is so special that you can live the life everybody should be able to live, that everyone should be able to enjoy. It is strange. We have one Europe, and the differences are so huge. As Amsterdam, we have a responsibility to tell these stories through Pride. The story of other countries is a bigger one than us. In Amsterdam, we can give them a platform.” Acknowledging that most LGBT in Amsterdam may feel the fight is over, she said, “We are never there. We have something to fight for, even in the Netherlands.” Still, Pride Day in Riga left Latvians more hopeful than ever. “You can feel the progress,” Mozaika’s Garina said as the march concluded. “I personally had very little in expectations and this went very well. I am happy for the local turnout and this was what I was concerned about.” What took place in Riga, Garina said, will have resonance throughout the former Soviet bloc. “Ther e will be Pride in the Ukraine,” she said. “One day, there will be Pride in Moscow. It will change. It if changes here, it will change there too.” June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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MADISON BOOKS

“Sappho Was a Right-on Woman” was published in 1971.

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REMEMBRANCE, from p.11

the revolutionary fervor of the movement, but was never mean-spirited or spiteful.” Psychotherapist Phyllis Chesler concurred, saying, “She was so utterly without malice” and “had such a positive energy.” She said, “She died a terrible death. She went up in flames like Joan of Arc, ever the Amazon.” Feminist pioneer Kate Millett said, “I just remember her being so damned funny!” Veteran gay activist Jim Levin wrote in an email that he and Abbott spoke at SUNY New Paltz in 1972 to what was supposed to be a tiny student group, but “the idea of actual LGBT speakers at a college forum (one who actually taught a gay

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PANTI, from p.12

picture gave her lots to talk about in her solo show. “Well, I mean my work has always touched on these subjects anyway,” O’Neill said. “The Pantigate business... obviously the gay stuff is something I’m dealing with in my work all the time. It got to a period where essentially for 18 months people were talking about what I’d been plugging away at for years.” Panti herself was interrupted during her last performance at the Irish Arts Center when a couple of younger audience members objected to her asking people to selfidentify as gay, lesbian, bisexual,

42

studies course — me) was so revolutionary that an enormous crowd appeared for the event and we had to be relocated to a huge auditorium." Levin and Abbott worried about some hostility from such a big audience. One of the first questions was, Levin recalled, “‘What is a dyke car?’ Rather than take offense, Sidney launched into a precise humorous description of the appropriate favorite car for lesbians that year which needed to be allowed to accumulate dirt and have minor damage left uncorrected. It brought down the house. From then on we had an obviously curious audience who learned mainly that LGBT men and women were ‘just folks’ and not stereotypes." Lesbian pioneer Charlotte Bunch, who served with her at NGTF, said Abbott “was very practical and didn’t get involved in ideological disputes. She was concerned about how to get things done.” While many, including Bunch, were lesbian separatists, she said that Abbott didn’t see separatism as “practical.” They did demand and get a board for NGTF that was half women. And when they moved in 1977 for the NOW convention to include lesbian rights in the national platform, she said it was Abbott who pushed to have their old nemesis Friedan be one of the speakers endorsing it. “Sidney said, ‘It’s very practical, and it’s going to be important.’” Historian Blanche Wiesen Cook celebrated Abbott’s life, but said, “It’s a hard time for a lot of older women” — the bulk of the assembled — with the very recent losses of Sidney, singer and activist Ronnie Gilbert, and Virginia Woolf scholar and feminist Jane Marcus. “Survival is the best revenge,” she said, “And real revenge is changing it forward and keeping up the legacy. We thank you, Sidney Abbott, for changing the world.” Abbott’s nephew David Abbott read a poem to Sidney charting her journey in life from Laredo, Texas to Smith College to Greenwich Village to San Francisco to Albuquerque to Southold. Joan Nixon, a veteran lesbian activist and famous as Bella Abzug’s driver, was a longtime

or straight. One of them began to proclaim loudly about the gender binary being false, and Panti was having none of that. “I like when anything happens during a show to create more interest,” O’Neill said. “What annoyed me, first of all, is that it’s a theater show. You talk about it on the train home with your friends. But you don’t try to turn it into a discussion in the middle of the show. But also, her particular point was so silly. Accusing me of propping up the binary! She hadn't listened to anything I’d said. Essentially she wasn’t looking at the arc of the show, just at the last few jokes and misunderstanding them.

friend of Abbott’s. “It is so astounding that Sidney is so celebrated now when she felt so alone and deserted” at the end of her life. Nixon had earlier told Windy City Times, “Before I realized I was a lesbian I got Sidney's book and after I read it everything changed for me. Her book opened my eyes to the concept of women loving other women and it was then that I realized that this applied to me.” Jim Fouratt, a comrade of Abbott’s in GLF, said she and other lesbians “brought the gift of feminism and the women’s movement” to the nascent gay movement. Gloria Steinem recalled Abbott’s “kindness, which might be the most important quality in life.” She said her own first exposure to lesbians in literature was “The Well of Loneliness,” a vision thankfully supplanted by “Sappho Was a Right-on Woman.” “When someone we love dies,” Steinem said, “we don’t lose them. They change form… Sidney is here with us and will always be — even after we’re gone.” Lee Zevy, former clinical director of Identity House, talked about Sidney’s contributions to the mental health of gays and lesbians there — gay people helping gay people. Social worker and activist Steve Ashkinazy, a founder of the Harvey Milk School, wrote in an email that as the first out gay master’s of social work student in the country at SUNY Stony Brook, he was aided by Sidney — then an out administrator at Compass House, a drug rehab program in East Harlem. She convinced the director “to lift the prohibition against LGBT kids and allow them into the program” and to hire him as an intern. “Because the need was so great and because there were no other places to go, within the first six weeks the population of the program became 50 percent LGBT.” “None of this could have happened without Sidney Abbott’s fearless and inspired leadership,” Ashkinazy wrote, testimony that was echoed throughout the celebration of her life at Judson and that will resonate throughout LGBT history.

“I’m not hung up on labels. The gender studies approach I’ve found, is often from people who came of age online: it’s not necessarily about age, but about people who came to a trans* identity in the age of the Internet. I have lots of trans friends and other friends and we all started out together, running around clubs, genderfucking and then some... Most of us described ourselves as drag queens, some of those people came to a trans* identity, some are transvestites and some call themselves ‘trannies,’ which is a word we still use on this side of the pond. And then some of us are drag queens, somewhere blurred between all of those things. We’re very used to

each other — and all girls together in some way. It’s a commonality we all hang onto. Nowadays, you might be 17 years old and discovering all this on the Internet, but never actually have hung out with people whose gender identity is fluid.” Panti and her creator are looking forward to their return to New York City, perhaps even for a rare vacation. “I love New York for all the reasons that other people love it,” O’Neill said. “It really is the world’s melting pot. There’s always something happening, no excuse to ever be bored, even for a moment.” Though, of course, wherever Panti is is rarely boring. June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


COMPTROLLER RELEASES NEW EDITION OF LGBTQ RESOURCE GUIDE Timed to coincide with Pride Week in Manhattan, New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer on June 22 released the 2015 edition of the “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer Guide of Services & Resources,” as well as the guide’s accompanying website (at comptroller.nyc.gov/ help/lgbtq-directory). The updated directory now includes roughly 600 non-profits, city agencies, and programs that serve the LGBTQ community. Since last year’s edition, nearly 250 entries have been updated, and 30 new programs have been added. Many of the additions provide information regarding LGBT health initiatives at hospitals across the city — from the chemical dependency treatment clinic at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, which includes a focus on HIV-positive individuals, to the transgender family services offered by the Metropolitan Hospital Center in Manhattan. The comptroller’s guide organizes services across a range of categories, including legal, anti-violence, health and well-being, HIV, youth, senior, communities of color, gender identity, and religious and spiritual, and breaks them down by borough. The online guide maps the locations of service providers. “New York City, home of the gay rights movement and one of the largest LGBTQ communities in the world, deserves a guide that can connect people to the services they need,” Stringer said in a written statement. “Our LGBTQ Guide helps residents and visitors alike better understand what resources are available, from hundreds of community organizations and health care facilities to counseling and support groups, recreational clubs, and much more.” — Paul Schindler

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Heart Gallery NYC, an innovative initiative that harnesses the power of photography to help connect young people 24 and younger who lack permanent homes with “forever families,” hosted its second Pride event on June 1 at the New Victory Theater in Times Square. The event showcases photographs of a dozen LGBTQ youth taken by volunteer celebrity photographers, including Antoine Verglas, Deborah Feingold, and Heidi Gutman. Laurie Sherman Graff, who founded Heart Gallery NYC in 2006, spoke proudly of the fact that her effort, one of nearly a hundred nationwide, was the first to mount an exhibition, last June, focused exclusively

on LGBTQ youth. “This exhibition is about honoring the nearly 12,000 New York City children living in foster care and the hundreds waiting and ready to be adopted,” she said, as she lauded her effort’s partnership with the Office of LGBTQ Policy & Practice at the New York City Administration for Children’s Services.” Rhodes Perry, the director of that office, noted the importance of such exhibits in forging “connections” among LGBTQ youth in need of permanent families, prospective parents, and the social service agencies that work with them. “These connections will empower more LGBTQ young people to thrive into healthy, happy, and independent adults.” — Paul Schindler

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HISTORY

Kate Kendell to Honor Barbara Gittings Leading lesbian legal advocate pays tribute to pioneering, pre-Stonewall activist in Fourth of July Philadelphia celebration

I

f there were ever a fitting tribute from one renowned LGBT civil rights leader to another, we’ll get to hear it this summer in Philadelphia. Outside Independence Hall on the Fourth of July, Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), will pay tribute to social justice pioneer Barbara Gittings. It is a perfect pairing for a momentous occasion. Gittings, 1932-2007, was renowned for her commitment, daring, and wholehearted joie de vivre. Along with the famous image of her picketing in the 1960s at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall — holding high her sign “Homosexuals should be judged as individuals” — most every other public photograph shows her delightful smile. Her legendary positive attitude and cando nature always set Gittings apart. It also inspired her peers and generations of activists to do not only what was right for the LGBT rights movement as well as the broader push for social justice, but to willingly take risks to get there. Kendell is one of those touched by Gittings’ trailblazing spirit, and she will proudly honor the woman who played a key role in the LGBT civil rights movement from its earliest days. “I met Barbara pretty early in my career at NCLR,” said Kendell, who joined the organization in 1994. “The thing that I most remember is that she was so vivacious. She

44

NATIONAL CENTER FOR LESBIAN RIGHTS

BY KELSY CHAUVIN

EQUALITY FORUM

KAY LAHUSEN/ EQUALITY FORUM

Barbara Gittings picketing at Independence Hall on July 4, 1966.

Barbara Gittings worked to ensure libraries across the nation included queer titles.

NCLR’s Kate Kendell will pay tribute to Barbara Gittings on July 4 in Philadelphia.

had so much energy and so much affection. She seemed excited every time I saw her, just by life. And by the time I met her she had nothing left to prove. She had already made such an enormous contribution. I think part of the reason she always seemed so delighted and thrilled about life is that she actually knew she had helped bend the arc of history.” Kendell will join Malcolm Lazin, executive director of Philadelphia-based Equality Forum (equalityforum.com), and other presenters commemorating the lives and contributions of bold American leaders who led the fight for LGBT civil rights. Their presentations are part of a four-day, multi-faceted event, running July 2-5, marking the 50th anniversary of the Annual Reminder marches (lgbt50.org and the June 11 issue of Gay City News at goo.gl/lfD9bc). It was those protests, starting in 1965 in Philadelphia, that brought together Gittings, Frank Kameny, Reverend Robert Wood (see page 46), and other prominent activists who helped turn the tide of US politics in favor of equality. They will be honored alongside leaders and entertainers joining the long weekend’s festivities, including Edie Windsor, Judy Shepard, Bishop Gene Robinson, Wanda Sykes, and many more. Kendell will participate in a legal issues panel discussion on Thursday, July 2, before delivering her Gittings tribute on Saturday, July 4 at 2:30 p.m. She said she couldn’t be more proud to join the occasion and to celebrate Gittings, a woman whose self-awareness of her

own impact proved an asset throughout her life. “Barbara had achieved a level of security for LGBT people that few people could claim,” Kendell said. “She could look back and say — and Frank Kameny could as well — ‘Wow, we have come a very long way, and I did this.’ I mean, who can say that? There are a handful of people who were at the forefront of social justice movements who can claim such singular influence. And she is one of those people; one of the five most important people to advance the modern LGBT movement.” Often called the “mother of the LGBT civil rights movement” (while Kameny, who lived in Washington, was called its “father”), Philadelphian Gittings was an unstoppable force. In 1958, commuting from her home, she organized the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis, the country’s first lesbian political and civil rights group. She served as editor of the Daughters’ magazine the Ladder, the country’s first lesbian publication. She also spearheaded campaigns for everything from adding queer books to US libraries and card catalogs to successfully challenging the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. Gittings’ remarkable contributions even earned her a street in Philly’s Gayborhood in 2012. Barbara Gittings Way is located on Locust Street between 12th and 13th Streets. Kendell is keen to remind younger

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KENDELL, continued on p.56

June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

45


HISTORY

A Groundbreaking Gay Voice of Faith A decade before Stonewall, Reverend Robert Wood penned “Christ and the Homosexual,” went on to join early demonstrations

BY KELSY CHAUVIN

I

f optimism is rooted in love, then the Reverend Robert Wood is a beacon of hope. Wood has been part of the LGBT civil rights movement since its early days in the 1950s, investing the love he found as a husband and pastor in the greater pursuit of equal rights over the past six decades. Today at age 92, he rejoices in the progress that’s been made — and, like a true activist, still finds encouraging ways for the movement to grow stronger. Wo o d i s o n e o f t h e “ G a y Pioneers” being honored as part of Philadelphia’s 50th Anniversary Celebration of LGBT Civil Rights, taking place outside Independence Hall this July 2-5 (LGBT50.org and the June 11 issue of Gay City News at goo.gl/lfD9bc). Planned by the Philadelphia-based Equality Forum (equalityforum.com), the event commemorates the Fourth of July gay Annual Reminder marches that began in 1965 and served as a catalyst for the development of a unified equality movement across the nation. Just days before that first Independence Hall protest, Wood and his husband Hugh Coulter were part of the “very first gay picket line in Washington DC, in front of the Civil Service building,” he recalled. “It was the last Saturday in

46

June of 1965,” said Wood. “Hugh and I drove down from New York. I was the only clergy; I was wearing my collar. The late Frank Kameny had gotten a permit for two hours, and had some signs made. There were, I think, 17 gay men and eight lesbians. We got photographed while we marched — I don’t know if it was the Secret Service or what. Groups also picketed the White House, they picketed the Pentagon, and then on July Fourth, they picketed Independence Hall.” Despite the fact that his advanced age will not allow him to travel to Philly from his home in Concord, New Hampshire, Wood’s story will be one of those told at this year’s Fourth of July celebration. Wood began his public service at 18, when he enlisted in the Army soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was severely wounded in the invasion of Italy, and went on to earn an honorable discharge, a Combat Infantry Badge, a Purple Heart, two battle stars, and a Bronze Star for heroic achievement in combat. Once he returned stateside, Wood resumed his studies in theology, and was ordained at Fair Haven, Vermont’s Congregational church. It was the beginning of a 35-year career as a parish pastor. And then he made history. Following up on his 1956 gay magazine article “Spiritual Exercises,” Wood spent two years

EQUALITY FORUM

COURTESY: REVEREND ROBERT WOOD

Reverend Robert Wood (r.) and his husband Hugh Coulter in 1972.

Reverend Robert Wood, as a young pastor and LGBT activist.

penning the gr oundbr eaking “Christ and the Homosexual.” The book was a brave coming-out of a Christian minister, in part because Wood used his own name and included a photograph of himself in his clerical collar. It also called for the Church to welcome homosexuals and to recognize same-sex marriage. “I w r ote i t i n 1 9 5 8 ; i t w as published in February 1960 at 221 pages,” said Wood, an early self-publisher. “I was willing to pay to get my message out, so I paid Vantage Press to publish it. We negotiated a price for hardcovers with dust jackets. Turns out it was well received, and all 3,000 copies sold within two years... I got over 300 letters from people who appreciated what I did.” He added, “I wrote over 1,000 sermons as a parish pastor, but my one book accomplished what I set out to do. It won two awards of merit. But it made a lasting impact, so I was pleased with that.” A profound devotion, openness, and loving spirit have been hallmarks of Wood’s life, most importantly in his 27-year relationship with Coulter, an abstract artist, political activist, and World War II veteran. Coulter died in 1989, but Wood still speaks of his husband with the affection of a young man in love. When asked what he might have changed about his past, he answered, “I wish that Hugh and

I had met sooner than we did. We had both been looking for each other for a decade. And finally in May 1962, the good Lord put us both in the same place at the same time, so we could finally meet. We did get 27 years together, but I would’ve been glad for another 10.” Wood said that while coming out challenged his father and brother, his mother was more supportive. “Years later after my father died, my mother came to live with Hugh and me,” he said. “They related very well. One day, one of my church women said to Mother, ‘Don’t you wish Bob had given you a nice daughter-in-law?’ And she said, ‘Oh but he gave me a nice son-in-law.’” In the community he helped nurture, Wood bestows praise where it’s due, applauding the Rainbow Flag as a symbol of inclusion and groups like PFLAG that are “a positive step for all concer ned — they do a great job being very open and very supportive.” And building on his lifetime of knowledge emboldens Wood’s thinking, including a number of daring ideas for how today and tomorrow’s LGBT activists might apply their efforts. “Stop using the word ‘straight,’ and say ‘gay’ and ‘non-gay,’” he said. “The opposite of straight is crooked, not gay. “And I hope that someday we’ll have a memorial to the thousands of GIs who died in the closet, without having any recognition of who their authentic souls were.” On a lighter note, he also believes Cialis and Viagra will soon be using gay men in their advertising. As Wood r eminisces about past triumphs and obstacles, it’s easy to grasp how his peaceful wisdom benefitted his personal relationships, his congregations over so many years, and the overall LGBT community. His is a voice that brought a new angle to the conversation about Americans’ personal politics — one of faith, equality, and the boundless power of love. To read more about LGBT leaders from the past century, visit gaypioneers.com. For travel tips in Philadelphia on Fourth of July weekend, read Gay City News’ June 11 article at gaycitynews.nyc/ passage-philadelphia. June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

47


A BEAUTIFUL NIGHT ON THE RIVER

Photo Essay by Donna Aceto | The LGBT Community Center has always been able to pinch itself for its good luck in getting stunningly clear weather for its annual Monday evening Garden Party kicking off Pride Week. June 22 proved no exception, as thousands turned out at Pier 84 at West 44th Street for a night of speeches, entertainment, and tastings from some of New York’s most famed restaurants. Pictured (clockwise from upper left hand corner) are Center executive director Glennda Testone (r.) with her partner Jama Shelton, from the True Colors Fund; Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.; a very pumped rep from the Standard Grill; West Side Congressmember Jerrold Nadler; filmmaker Joy Tomchin; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; and State Senator Brad Hoylman (r.) with his predecessor Tom Duane.

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June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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here. Talk about any kind of stuff we want to talk about, different guys we like. We’re not going to get judged by a stranger. Sometimes, some strangers will even join along.

PIER, from p.6

Josh 18, from the Bronx, near Riverdale

L U X U RY R E N TA L S

Patrik-James

BUILDING UPON EXCELLENCE FOR 40 YEARS

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ALICIA GREEN

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GCN: Do you feel comfortable in your neighborhood being gay, or do you feel more comfortable when you come here? Josh: More here. It’s a just a place where… you could just be yourself, not really be worried. Up in the Bronx, or at least where I am at, it’s more Latino-based. Homosexuality isn’t as common over there. Over here, at least, I can be here… with other people like me. GCN: How often do you come to the pier? Josh: As often as I can. During the summer, a lot more frequent. A couple times a week. During the school year, I’d say maybe about once [or twice] a week. GCN: What is a typical day like at the pier for you? Josh: Just walking around, either lying down on the grass, sitting on a bench, or standing over here looking at the water. And again, looking at eye candy because there is a lot of guys jogging out here that have abs.

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GCN: Do you think the pier has changed your life in any type of way? Do you think it’s made you more comfortable being gay? Josh: Definitely. Even though it’s an area not many people think of, it’s kind of a place where people get to come here. A lot of my friends, we just come here and chill. We can just be us. We can listen to music out

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When I was coming here two decades ago, it was very different. They’ve cleaned it up and switched it up quite a bit. Now they have cur fews. It used to be pretty much open all the time. They didn’t close it up like they do now. But the whole neighborhood has been going through a sort of gentrification process over the last how many ever years. Christopher Street, for example. You’ve seen the bars slowly disappearing. Certainly, the bars that cater to gay people of color are mostly gone with the exception of the Hangar, which is still there. In that regard, it’s very, very different. It used to be really gay down to where there was, right at the corner of Christopher Street… a big black gay bar. Not to mention, numerous places up and down. In that way, it’s kind of changed. But the gay community, certainly the gay community of color, is still regarding this place as obviously a place of interest. They still come and congregate here. GCN: How long have you been coming to the pier? Patrik-James: Since college. GCN: Have you ever had any problems with locals here? Patrik-James: No. GCN: Can you share a good memory or experience that you’ve had at the pier? Patrik-James: I can remember coming here with a special someone, and having nice times here. June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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Geeking Out at Flame Con New York’s first queer comic convention proves a smashing success BY MICHAEL SHIREY

I

MICHAEL SHIREY

t seems strange that an event like Flame Con — New York City’s first-ever queer comic convention — did not exist before now. But fear not — the folks at Geeks Out not only responded to the call, they delivered.. And the unique Victorian splendor afforded by Brooklyn’s Grand Prospect Hall only added to what was a great experience for diehard fans and curious passersby alike. More than 2,200 people showed up for the event on Saturday, June 13; organizers were perhaps wise to schedule it to coincide with the Brooklyn LGBT Pride Festival and Parade taking place just blocks away. In addition to special happenings that included a comically gay “X-Files” reading, musical performances, and a cosplay contest, there were more than 100 local and national exhibitors, along with 10 panels covering topics from queer diversity in youth comics and literature, to transgender- and female-themed comics, to queer characters in ultra-violence and horror genres.

Sarah Donner serenaded the crowd with songs about cats and other mythical creatures.

MICHAEL SHIREY

Cecil Baldwin and Dylan Marron kicked off Flame Con with a dramatic "X-Files" reading.

MICHAEL SHIREY

Embracing Queer Impulses “ U b e r Vi o l e n c e a n d Q u e e r Storytelling,” the first panel I attended, discussed queer characters in hyper-violent comics. Panelists included “Midnighter” writer Steve Orlando and “Bash Back” writers Lawrence Gullo and Kelsey Hercs. Orlando, whose first issue of the critically acclaimed “Midnighter” reboot has been selling out across the city, said it was a treat to explore the character’s queer life with a frank, “who gives a fuck if Midnighter is gay?” mentality. Orlando said he felt that sort of candidness squares with the character’s other traits. Approaching Midnighter’s sexuality as well as his violent tendencies in a matter-of-fact way, Orlando explained, allowed him to present a more holistic character than the original 1998 hero.

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Flame Con's mascot, Flamey, along with a handful of the many queer cosplayers.

“Bash Back” is a queer mafia web comic written in response to growing reports of violence and crime against the LGBT community. In a wishful way, it explores the possibility of a hero or group of heroes who specifically defend the queer community. Taking full advantage of being selfpublished, “Bash” writers Gullo and Hercs completely did away with the “token straight character,” choosing instead to focus on characters who are transgender, bisexual, and people of color. The two joked about the allure of making all of the comic’s villains straight. When asked if they were

concerned about the backlash having such violent gay characters could have on LGBT representation in comics overall, Orlando swatted the question away with a joke, saying, “What does Wolverine being violent say about white Canadian guys?” The next issue of “Midnighter” comes out in July, and you can check out “Bash Back” at bashback.tumblr.com

That’s Soo Ghey One of the last panels of the day was “The Internet is Ghey,” moderated by Geeks Out own Joey Stern and including his fellow

Geeks Ian Carlos Crawford and Nicole Gitau, Buzzfeed’s Krutika Mallikarjuna, and actor Tommy Heleringer. Each has their own unique online presence. There was a nostalgic quality to their recalling the early days of chat rooms, online relationships, and meeting others digitally, and their comments about how the Internet has influenced their lives were fascinating. It became clear during the discussion that for some of the panelists (along with many in the audience, myself included) cyberspace was the first place they ever connected with the queer world. For Mallikarjuna, now editor at Buzzfeed Geeky, the Internet was a place to “lurk” and marvel at fan art, which in time encouraged her to create her own fan fiction. Geeks Out member Gitau is a librarian — and so has all the

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FLAME CON, continued on p.56

June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

53


Putting the T In in Geek

As comicdom’s LGBT era unfolds, Flame Con offers a place for cosplay and transgender fans BY CHARLES BATTERSBY

I

Flamey, the Flame Con mascot, joins cosplay costume contest winners.

MICHAEL SHIREY

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PHOTO BY FWEE CARER COURTESY FLAME CON

n decades past, geek media like comic books and video games avoided direct mention of LGBT themes. While Geek media was often seen as childish, LGBT representation was viewed as inherently sexual and unsuitable for kids. In recent years, a new generation of gay and transgender creators have begun making their own comics and games, while publishers have embraced a new audience and presented a more diverse roster of characters. The stereotypes of both subcultures are being eroded by the arrival of these openly LGBT geeks. Industry conventions like Comic Con present panel discussions where publishers promote upcoming projects, but the cons also have panels on more esoteric topics, including LGBT themes. Previously, a major con might have had a single panel devoted to “Diversity” — but the cons of today have multiple panels that address topics of interest beyond the stereotypical straight white male nerd. Gay geeks have proliferated so much that there have been several cons that cater specifically to them. Gaymer X is a West Coast event that is geared toward video game fans, and will see its third annual installment this winter. In New York City there is Flame Con, which had its first incarnation earlier this month at the opulent Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn. It celebrated all manner of geek culture and hosted a dedicated lounge for gamers, along with a show floor for comic book artists and vendors. Panel discussions were held on a variety of gayspecific topics, including kidfriendly gay comics, gay themes in the horror genre, and gay “antihero” characters that defy the traditional do-gooder image. Comic book conventions have seen a drastic increase in another subculture recently: cosplay — fans who dress up as their favorite characters, often with elaborate handcrafted clothing and props. Flame Con was no exception, with numerous attendees dressed as

The main floor Flame Con exhibitors at Brooklyn’s Grand Prospect Hall.

flamboyant interpretations of film, comic, and game characters. Even at mainstream conventions, cosplay has become a safe way to explore identity, and it is quite common for fans to “crossplay” as characters of the opposite gender. Even as the push for LGBT inclusivity in the nerd community gained steam a few years ago, the “T” for transgender was often an afterthought — or overlooked altogether in panels where all the speakers were cisgender. But several recent major conventions have taken the step of presenting programming that looks exclusively at transgender themes (several of which I organized and moderated). New York’s Special Edition: NYC convention hosted such a panel in 2014, and the San Diego Comic-Con followed suit later that summer, as did the New York Comic-Con that

fall. Within the span of a week this June, New York City saw panels about transgender comic book characters at two conventions — Special Edition: NYC, as well as Flame Con. One of Flame Con’s panelists, P. Kristen Enos, the writer of “Web of Lives,” pointed out, “While panels on transgender themes feel like a novelty in a standard geek convention, there’s no way Flame Con could be taken with any credibility if their first con did not have a panel like this, and I’m glad that they did, and that I could be part of it. The audience already felt educated about the issues of transgender presentation that it allowed us as panelists to talk about topics deeper and further than at a standard convention.” Also a panelist at Flame Con, Jennie Wood — writer of the comic

“Flutter” and the novel “A Boy Like Me” — said, “At one point I sat back during the panel and thought to myself, ‘Wow, what an honor to be here with such talented, wonderful, thoughtful people.’ There was such a warm vibe in the room...from my fellow panelists, our moderator, and the audience. And there was a level of maturity to the discussion that can sometimes be lacking on panels.” Ther e have been too many transgender characters and stories to name them all in one article, but many of them follow recurring patterns. Back in the Golden Age of the ‘30s and ‘40s, comic books would address themes of genderchange — but only for plot purposes. Heroes and heroines would frequently disguise themselves as persons of the opposite gender, usually as part of contrived situations to dupe foolish enemies. One character in particular, Madame Fatal, was based entirely around this concept. She was a young man who disguised himself as a little old lady in order to lull enemies into false security. In the decades since, characters ranging from Captain America to Jimmy Olsen and even Batman have used this gimmick in their stories. It was usually played for laughs, but sometimes was depicted seriously (to prove that certain characters were true masters of disguise). On occasion, female characters would disguise themselves as male in or der to appear mor e thr eatening. These characters weren’t truly transgender, although the stories might have unintentionally resonated with trans readers. Another long-standing use of gender change as a plot device is having a character cursed by being transformed into the other gender. In geek media, the writers are free to use outlandish science or magic to accomplish this. Characters would have their gender changed forcibly, often in an effort to tell stories about sexism, but these stories inadvertently overlooked the opportunity to address the trans

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GEEKS, continued on p.58

June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


46 years after the Stonewall riots, New York University joins Greenwich Village in celebrating a turning point in LGBT civil rights.

We salute the LGBT leaders, friends, and allies, then and now, whose tireless advocacy continues to further equality, inclusion, and support for individuals from every community —

in New York City and beyond.

Learn about NYU’s public programs and community partnerships

nyu.edu/nyu-in-nyc

GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

@NYUinNYC

facebook.com/NYUinNYC

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M FOR MIDNIGHTER

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FLAME CON, from p.52

Internet proficiency that career would suggest — but she voiced amazement at how no two people use it in the same way. She also said she is wary about the constant online access we have, saying that it does not necessarily make us smarter. Heleringer also commented on the Internet’s downsides. Known by most in the room as Scruffy from “The Outs” web series, Heleringer distinguished between the relationship he has with fans of his

c

theater work and the more direct, unfiltered connection he has with his Internet followers. His work on “The Outs” has elicited professions of love and proposals of marriage, and so, unlike others on the panel, Heleringer tries to keep as much of his personal life as possible off the Internet. In contrast, Crawford, a 20-something who uses social media liberally, emphasized his decision to not censor himself on the Inter net. Having done work with Geeks Out and for Buzzfeed, he suggested he wouldn’t

KENDELL, from p.44

generations of Gittings’ immense bravery, especially back when American sentiments toward homosexuals could often be explicitly and unabashedly cruel. “This is no hyperbole: I truly cannot imagine the courage one would have to possess to march in front of the White House or Independence Hall, carrying a sign that you are openly gay, demanding an end to the witch hunt, and an end to homosexuality as one of the traits that could deny you federal employment,” said Kendell. “And then passing out leaflets and flyers to passersby. It would be intimidating to do it today! Let alone to do it at a time when people did not even have a consciousness about LGBT people in the

56

MICHAEL SHIREY

Warren Ellis originally created Midnighter in 1998 as part of the “Stormwatch” series for DC comics. Midnighter, along with fellow super hero Apollo, would go on to be among DC’s strongest gay protagonists — the two even got married in 2002’s “Transfer of Power” graphic novel. Enter Steve Orlando (pictured right), who, 17 years later, is the writer for the new “Midnighter” series — one that promises to show a more thoroughly integrated character. Readers will find the comic’s protagonist without Apollo, trying to date in the modern gay world. But a super hero’s life is never easy, and a new enemy threatens Midnighter and those closest to him. Fans of super hero stories will appreciate Orlando’s frank style of storytelling as he navigates Midnight through contemporary gay dating, which includes the use of a Grindr-inspired sex app. ACO and Romulo Fajardo, Jr.’s artwork is eye candy for diehard fans and those new to the series, alike. “Midnighter” is rated T+ (Teen plus) for violence and mild sexual content. The first issue sold out quickly in most of New York’s comic shops, but viewers can catch the second issue in early July. — Michael Shirey

Right to left: Tommy Heleringer, Krutika Mallikarjuna, Ian Carlos Crawford, and Nicole Gitau on "The Internet is Ghey" panel.

necessarily want to work for people who would be put off by his Internet persona. When he wrote a Geeks Out piece defending a recent Marvel storyline in which the character Iceman comes out as gay, Crawford was both called a faggot and accused of being bi-phobic. It was that second cut that stung. For him, one of the hardest lessons the Internet has taught him is that you cannot always change other people’s opinions. The four panelists may have come to the Inter net in very different ways — and each has their own specific relationship to it — but their discussion made clear that cyberspace has brought disparate parts of the queer community closer together. In perhaps a nod to the fact each of us has our own online life, the four offered amusingly varied answers when asked what was the gayest site on the Internet: for Mallikarjuna, it was Effing Dykes (effingdykes. blogspot.com); for Crawford, Twitter; for Gitau, Tumblr; and for Heleringer, any porn site.

world.” Kendell asserted that Gittings’ legacy has directly paved the way for LGBT accomplishments over the past 60 years. Today’s queer community continues to reap the benefits and build on the long-term momentum of her actions. “We didn’t get here because people started working on this issue five years ago,” Kendell said. “We got here because, at tremendous personal risk, there were men and women who stood up. I certainly feel the privilege that we’re in a nation more supportive of LGBT issues than I could’ve ever imagined, largely because of the contributions of Barbara Gittings.” Kendell added that Gittings “was so gracious and warm and supportive of those who were younger than her. She wasn’t the least bit

Cons are exhausting, and between Flame Con and Brooklyn Pride, it was impossible for me to see everything. Some of the other highlights from the event included “Secret Identities: T ransgender Themes in Geek Culture,” which I was unable to attend (fortunately Charles Battersby was also on hand, and he provides coverage on page 54). It was very clear, however, in the panels I was able to hit that Flame Con succeeded in drawing strong transgender participation and it also took seriously the ongoing issue of bisexual erasure. My friend Kerry Cullen, who accompanied me thr oughout the day, once said she only felt comfortable in queer spaces, and even then it can be hard to fit into just the right clique. At Grand Prospect Hall on June 23, it was affirming to find out just how safe a space Flame Con was. For more Geeks Out events, visit geeksout.org.

threatened by new or younger leadership. In fact it was the opposite. She wanted to encourage us to do better, and push us to take on the next fights — knowing that even with as much as she had accomplished, we are not done… There will be a new generation of Barbara Gittings, and Frank Kamenys, and Del Martins and Phyllis Lyons. That’s what we need to begin and to close whatever the next chapter is.” To read more about Barbara Gittings and other LGBT leaders from the past century, visit gaypioneers.com. Learn more about the NCLR at nclrights.org. For travel tips in Philadelphia on Fourth of July weekend, read Gay City News’ June 11 article at gaycitynews.nyc/passagephiladelphia. June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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GEEKS, from p.54

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experience of feeling trapped in a body of the wrong gender. It was rare that a comic character willingly changed gender until the late ‘80’s rolled around and comic books entered their “dark & gritty” phase. The readers had grown up, and the comic industry took its first tenuous steps into transgender representation with adult-oriented comics published by the same mainstream companies that made Superman and SpiderMan. However, this new generation of transgender characters generally consisted of supporting characters and rarely had their own set of super powers or fought evil on their own. A notable exception was Coagula of “Doom Patrol,” who was a male-to-female trans who gained the power to turn solid objects into fluids, and vice versa (a deliberate metaphor for gender fluidity). A more recent example of a transgender super hero is Sera in the series “Angela: Asgard’s Assassin.” She appeared with little fanfare a few months ago, and readers didn’t even know that she was trans until three issues into her story. Marguerite Bennett, who wrote Sera’s sub-story within this storyline, was a panelist at both Flame Con and Special Edition: NYC, where she discussed the character. Sera was born in a male body, in a society where only women can become warriors. She

eventually “found a way to make me myself” and became a magical swordswoman who has been incorporated into Marvel Comics lore, fighting alongside Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy. The video game industry is relatively young compared to comics, and it has only recently been accepted by the general public as a narrative art form. For decades, games used the same plot device involving gender themes — including curses and disguises — seen in other geek media. As players and game developers became increasingly diverse, however, the industry responded. The “Saints Row” franchise has several installments that allow players to take their character to a cosmetic surgeon to change gender in mid-game, or even create a character who is gender non-conforming right from the start. Last year’s “Dragon Age: Inquisition” featured a subplot in which one of the supporting characters, Krem, is female-tomale trans and comes from a culture where it is accepted. A few long-running franchises like “Mario” and “Street Fighter” have transgender characters among their casts as well, and have garnered a cult following for the characters Birdo and Poison. Two decades ago, the notion of a transgender geek would have been seen as a paradox. However the sci-fi/ fantasy settings of games and comics have allowed writers and designers

Sera appeared with little fanfare a few months ago, and readers didn’t even know that she was trans until three issues into her story.

to address gender identity in ways that more realistic settings can’t. The blossoming transgender community among nerds has also proven to be an unexpected safe place for trans people to find kindred spirits, while sharing their love of superheroes and epic adventure.

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SUNNY FESTIVITIES & A PA

Photo Essay by Donna Aceto | The annual Brooklyn LGBT Pride Festival and Parade enjoyed extraordinary early summer weather in Park Slope on Saturday June 13. After a morning 5k run in Prospect Park, attention shifted to Fifth Avenue, where thousands streamed between Third and Ninth Streets enjoying the afternoon street festival. One of the truly special features of Brooklyn Pride is its evening parade, which begins at dusk, also on Fifth Avenue. A parade that begins with some good amount of natural light still around concludes in the darkness, with the stars twinkling brightly above, setting the mood perfectly for the crowd to scatter to nearby bars and parties. Pictured (clockwise, from top left) are grand marshal Brooke Guinan, the first out transgender female firefighter, who got her start in activism in her high school Gay-Straight Alliance; grand marshals Farid Ali Lancheros and George Constantinou and their family, owners of Bogota Latin Bistro and Miti Miti Taperia in Park Slope; a contingent from the Lesbian Herstory Archives, also Park Slope-based; Borough President Eric Adams; Public Advocate Letitia James, who got her political start as a Brooklyn City Councilmember; Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, whose home before Gracie Mansion was in Park Slope; and a contingent from the Lambda Independent Democrats, the borough’s LGBT political group.

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June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


ARADE UNDER THE STARS

YOU WERE WARNED

Photo Essay by Michael Shirey | Weather forecasters had warned of thunderstorms, but instead the afternoon was sunny and felt tropically humid. Perfect for the 18th annual Folsom Street East festival, held Sunday, June 21. Celebrating “the rebellious spirit” of the “kink and fetish scene,” the block party this year billed itself as “the New York you were warned about.” Proceeds from the event, held on West 27th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues In Chelsea, benefited the New York City Anti-Violence Project, whose goal is to put an end to violence against the LGBT community, and Visual AIDS, an arts organization that supports the work of artists living with HIV/ AIDS.

GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

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By the end of this month –– and quite possibly before we’ve had the chance to get this newspaper into your hands –– the US Supreme Court will have ruled on marriage equality. The court –– which since October has passively allowed lower court rulings to go into effect doubling the number of gay marriage states –– has given every indication its decision will be a happy one. There’s a reason, of course, that it’s called the Supreme Court. Those nine justices can do just about anything they want, so there’s no percentage in counting our chickens before they’re hatched. Should the ruling be adverse, finding no federal constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry, the community faces a difficult reassessment –– a discussion best left for later, in the hopes we never have to engage in it. Win or lose, however, we’ve learned something very valuable from the marriage fight –– we gain nothing, absolutely nothing from lowering our sights, accommodating our opponents, or negotiating against ourselves. When Vermont enacted civil unions in 2000, after its high court ordered the Legislature to deliver same-sex couples all the rights of marriage, with or without the name, the movement could have adopted a “separate but equal is good enough” strategy, but it didn’t. True, some states took the intermediate step of civil unions, but the community leadership largely saw those compromises as tactical. To their credit, the Empire State Pride Agenda and out gay legislators never countenanced the idea of civil unions here, though they could have been adopted more quickly than gay marriage. And, when marriage came to New York on June 24, 2011, we managed to be just the sixth state to cross the finish line. A striking quality of marriage victories I’ve taken time to observe closely –– in New York, over Proposition 8, against DOMA, and most recently in the Irish referendum –– is the joy that permeates such moments. Governor Andrew Cuomo, the decisive player in the win here, commented on that after joining the LGBT Pride March two days later. Edie Windsor, the successful DOMA plaintiff, won the hearts of Americans with her earthy, plain-spoken dignity. And the pictures and videos that emerged from Ireland showed a country –– no matter how hard-fought the referendum was –– proud of itself for confronting a tough question and decisively choosing to do the right thing. The quest for marriage equality has shown we can change the hearts and minds of the larger society around us. And even those among us who have philosophical objections to the institution of marriage or who worry that the effort to win on that issue diverted us from other, more dire needs will, I think, agree that our youth will more easily build the self-esteem to live fulfilling lives if their government is not telling them from the get-go that their love, by law, must be treated differently. Changing up that message, however, is not enough. As Mike Signorile argued compellingly in his most recent book, “It’s Not Over.” The biggest task ahead of us is winning full civil rights protections at the federal level. For more than two decades, our

community got sidetracked on a classic course of negotiating against ourselves –– in pushing for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Winning protections at the workplace, the reasoning went, would be an easier sell than barring discrimination in housing or public accommodations, like hotels, restaurants, and other venues open to the community as a whole. Along the way, we also offered our opponents concessions on religious exemptions that would allow for opt-outs based on so-called faith-based objections to homosexuality –– opt-outs unavailable under any other civil rights law. We seem to have learned the errors of that course. Any day now, out gay Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon are expected to introduce comprehensive civil rights legislation that will track, if not specifically amend, the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the gold standard in nondiscrimination protections. Achieving that –– a long-term project –– will be a test of our willingness and ability to work in coalition with other progressive communities. Watching the recent “religious freedom” fiasco in Indiana and witnessing last year’s decision by the Supreme Court to grant a business corporation, Hobby Lobby, faith-based exemptions to federal law, our community has become more sophisticated in recognizing the dangers of breaching the church-state divide at the heart of the First Amendment. Yet, even as we identify dangers when they emanate from Indianapolis or Oklahoma City, we are often blind to them when our friends are behind them. We have been too complacent about our mayor opening up public schools for weekend worship services, our governor pressing for aid to parochial schools –– many of which teach anti-gay lessons –– and a majority of the LGBT caucus in the City Council endorsing the same idea here in New York City. It should, by now, be clear that defending the separation of church and state is integral to the fight for LGBT rights. Believers and non-believers, alike, should agree on this. As we press for comprehensive protections for the community at large, we also need to identify priorities that demand greater attention and more resources. The laudable Plan to End AIDS by 2020 in New York State will not succeed unless the governor and the mayor are willing to spend more money and engage more communities than they’ve signaled willingness to so far. As one city official told me, success depends on their swimming into the deep end of the pool. With Mayor Bill de Blasio’s leadership, the city has nearly doubled the number of beds for homeless youth, many of them suited to the needs of LGBT young people. That effort needs to continue, with help from the state, and we need to broaden our definition of youth so that vulnerable 21- to 24-year-olds also have shelter options apart from adult shelters, which can be particularly dangerous for queer young people. The innovative strategies developed by SAGE and its mainstream elder advocate allies to ensure that LGBT seniors can find housing and services sensitive and responsive to their needs deserve support at every level of government. Finally, as the remarkably positive response to Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out has demonstrated, the American people can be moved in their understanding of and support for transgender lives. On this, our political system is falling woefully behind, especially here in New York. It is an indictment of the Legislature in Albany –– and frankly of every LGBT advocacy group and every LGBT publication –– that New York State has still not extended basic civil rights protections based on gender identity and expression. As President Barack Obama might phrase it, “We’re better than that.” And our expectations need to be a lot higher than that. June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


PERSPECTIVE: Media Circus

Celebrating Sexuality Does Not Reduce You BY ED SIKOV

I

t’s a dirty business, this media criticism thing. You not only have to be willing to — you should pardon the expression — troll through some really nasty, crankish writing, but you also have to respond to the unreasonable with reason. I confess that on occasion I take the easy way out and just Google Bryan Fischer of American Family Radio, formerly of the American Family Association (AFA), pull out his latest wacko pronouncement, and presto: a column is born. Hell, a glance at his Wikipedia entry yields a comedy goldmine that requires no commentary on my part at all: “To avoid being classified as a hate group, the AFA has officially repudiated Fischer’s views on Muslims, Native Americans, Hispanics, African Americans, the Holocaust being caused by homosexuals, the outlawing of homosexuality, and that Hillary Clinton is a lesbian.” But this week, I found myself genuinely disturbed by a surprisingly (if superficially) thoughtful, but in fact meretricious opinion piece by Darren Wilson on charismanews.com, which bills itself as “Breaking News. Spiritual Perspective.” Titled “Caitlyn Jenner and the Ironic Flaw of the Gay Agenda,” the article initially drew me in simply because I always enjoy anything involving the phantom “gay agenda.” (Mine looks something like this: “Thursday: 9 a.m. — gym; 10:30 a.m. — meet Satan at Starbucks; noon — grocery shopping; 2:30 p.m. — loiter at elementary school playground; 4:00 p.m. — watch “Ellen”; 7:30 p.m. — dinner; 10:00 p.m. — group sex with strangers; midnight — bedtime.”) I was curious to see what this particular opinionator thought our agenda was and what its ironic flaw would turn out to be. Much to my irritation, Darren Wilson got under my skin. Caitlyn Jenner turned out to be a tease; Wilson hardly mentions her. He really begins by outlining what GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

he calls Christians’ “three responses” to the gaying of America: “The first approach is to throw up our hands, read the writing on the wall of our culture, give up fighting a losing battle, and join in the affirmation of gay Christianity. A subset of this response includes those within the church who feel that the Bible got it wrong on this one, and that this is one instance where society as a whole is being more compassionate than traditional Christianity. The second approach is to take an aggressive and pronounced stance against it, shout loudly that we are being persecuted for our faith, yet not really get our hands dirty with ‘those people’ because we are content to hide behind the phantom wall of social media. The third approach is to bury our head in the sand and hope it all just goes away.”

patronizing the sinner who struggles, as if the wider body have no issues of their own.” Apart from an obstinate refusal to keep singulars singular and plurals plural (“They are a ‘sinner’” should be “They are ‘sinners’”; “the wider body have no issues of their own” is really “the wider body has no issues of its own”), Wilson makes some valid points. In their attempt to keep the rest of the country from normalizing gay people, Evangelicals have met with failure after failure. Even if marriage equality doesn’t become the law of the land this year, it’s clear that history is on our side. It must be terribly painful for hardline Christians to see Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and even the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America embracing gay and lesbian churchgoers and even ordaining us as priests and ministers. Wilson

Yes, you read that correctly: “heterosexuals have never really paraded or lauded the fact that they are attracted to the opposite sex.”

“In the past,” Wilson continues, “Christians were quick to emote a ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ mantra. But this approach doesn’t really work on the issue of homosexuality for a couple of reasons. First, it has proven to be nearly impossible. As well-meaning as Christians have been, when the ‘sinner’ continues to sin, we typically become exasperated, fed up, or confused by the fact that they aren’t changing. Second, and far more of a problem, is the fact that this approach still objectifies the person and doesn’t treat them like a real human being. They are a ‘sinner,’ and we are simply vowing to overlook their obvious blemish — but they will forever know that the blemish is there. It also turns the proceedings into an ‘us versus them’ scenario, where the people in good standing are

seems both rational and realistic. But he tips his hand when he writes, “With homosexuality, the push within the culture has been hard on the idea that ‘I am a homosexual, and that fact must be celebrated.’ This is odd to me, because throughout human history heterosexuals have never really paraded or lauded the fact that they are attracted to the opposite sex. That’s just the way they were, and life was a lot bigger than that one fact. But for some reason (and in my opinion, it’s because this is an identity issue) the homosexual has placed their sexuality at the very top of the ‘who they are’ list.” Yes, you read that correctly: “heterosexuals have never really paraded or lauded the fact that they are attracted to the opposite sex.” Has Wilson never been to a straight

wedding, where people spend tens of thousands of dollars and a year of planning in order to celebrate their offspring’s attraction to the opposite sex? Has he never been to the movies? Has he never heard of Shakespeare? Seen the cover of a romance novel? Been to a family reunion? Heterosexuality is celebrated constantly. If gay people focus on our sexuality, it’s precisely in reaction to the overwhelming, built-in respect that opposite-sex attraction receives from those who are attracted to the opposite sex, a self-ennobling that’s so ingrained in culture that straight people don’t even see it. They take their authority so for granted that it disappears from sight. Wilson’s article goes downhill quickly: “The great irony of the ‘gay agenda’ — if that’s what you want to call it — is that it actually cheapens the very people it is proposing to protect. When people obnoxiously promote their sexuality, exalt their sexuality, and wholly focus on their sexuality, then what they are saying is that they are first and foremost a sexual being. But the truth is they are so much more than that.” Do any of you know a single gay person who defines her- or himself solely by the sex acts s/he per forms? I don’t. And I’m a professional homosexual. Sure, I write the media column for Gay City News. But I’ve also written seven books about films and filmmakers. I used to be a college professor. Of course we’re all “so much more than” the sex acts we enjoy. I do define myself as a gay man, and I love gay sex. But I’m also Jewish, a husband, an only child, a writer, a decent cook, and a loyal friend. I’m a book reader. I’m a person with Parkinson’s disease. To quote the (gay) poet Walt Whitman, “I contain multitudes.” I resent being accused of minimizing myself by reclaiming my sexuality from the faggot-hating bullies of my youth. I hate being told that I’m cheapening myself by honoring my sexuality. I told you this dirtbag got under my skin. I worked myself into a rage writing this column. Maybe I should just stick to skewering Bryan Fischer. It’s easier on the nerves. Follow @edsikov on Twitter.

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PERSPECTIVE: A Dyke Abroad

Ending White Terror BY KELLY COGSWELL

L

ast week, a young white terrorist massacred nine African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina where the Confederate flag still flies over the State House. It’s time to pull it down. Not as a quick fix, but as one more step in the fight against racism. Racism. What an inadequate word to explain these murders and the seemingly daily shootings of young black men (and women) at the hands of mostly white cops, our refusal to treat immigrants like humans, and the continuation of our policies treating Native Americans like the foreigners they aren’t. White supremacy comes closer, a system enforced with constant propaganda and underlined with just enough good old fashioned terrorism to drive home the point that

white folks are on top, everybody else is on the bottom, and you’ll stay there and like it if you don’t want to end up in a pool of your own blood. But the consequences of this white supremacy are often not as visible as these deaths. And the cause is more complicated and rarely so conveniently displayed as the Confederate flag. Which begs the question, what do we do after it’s gone? Banned in public, will it become even more powerful in private spaces, fetishized by people like Dylann Storm Roof who will still have guns in their hands and still be vulnerable to messages of hate and resentment, which are easy enough to inscribe on their blank, ignorant lives? Even if the symbol is removed, the worldview that kept it hanging there for so many years won’t go without a fight. Especially since the

wolf managed to convince so many of us that it was nothing more than a lamb. The flag was a general symbol of rebellion. Slavery itself is increasingly portrayed as what? An inconvenience, really, for the slave. Growing up in the parallel universe of white Kentucky, I didn’t even notice the stars and bars. You’d see it seasonally on the T-shirts and rusting cars of young white men who were just asserting their redneck class and independence. Don’t Tread on Me. I remember drawing it with pleasure in red and blue crayons. If I had remained in Kentucky and not ventured out of my family circle, I might be one of those lamenting the loss of my heritage and clinging as tightly as I could to that ugly relic. It never occurred to me that the flag had anything to do with defending slavery, or a willingness to recreate that system with vio-

lence and terror. All that seemed done and dusted, far from my tiny life trundling back and forth between my church and the school. Nobody even talked about racism. Black History hadn’t got its month yet, declaring falsely that slavery ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. Or maybe, Martin Luther King, Jr. Equality was in the fact that black kids sat wherever they wanted in the lunchroom, no matter that there were only two or three among the 30 kids in the college prep courses I took. And all of us, I think, have been surprised to find out just how cleverly white supremacy could retrench itself in every aspect of our lives, from housing policy to health care. In college at Transylvania University, I saw the Confederate flag hanging out the windows of the KA fraternity, and still thought of “The Dukes of Hazard,” not the KKK. When the frat boys dressed up in their rebel grays, greeting

c

DYKE ABROAD, continued on p.67

PERSPECTIVE: Snide Lines

A Child’s Garden of Perverseness BY SUSIE DAY

A

re you a living quagmire of sexual guilt and obsession? Do you go to sleep, dreaming of Captain Hook’s hook, then wake up in a cold sweat at 4 in the morning, terrified that someone just pushed you down an elevator shaft, but you can’t remember if it was Tinker Bell or Snow White? Is it impossible for you to find a Pride T-shirt slogan that even comes close to expressing the many vagaries of your libido? If so, you were probably exposed to children’s literature at far too young an age. Fortunately, there is help, for I am a famous queer culture critic. Here is my analysis of two typically “innocent” children’s poems that are sure to have screwed you up royally.

Little Miss Muffet: Beauty is truth; truth is beauty. And it just gets worse from there. For raw sexual ambivalence, nothing in Western literature beats the nursery rhyme, “Little Miss Muffet.” The name “Muffet,” being of European origin, presents itself here as a euphemism for “muff,”

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which the dictionary defines as: (1) (verb) to bungle a performance; (2) (noun) a cluster of feathers on the side of the face of some domestic owls; or (3) (noun) a tubular covering deriving from the word mitten (cf. “The Three Little Kittens”). This just goes to show what a homophobic nimrod the dictionary is. You would think that, after all these years, straight white male lexicographers would embrace civilization’s lesbian proclivities, at least as far as the word muff is concerned. I mean, whoever heard of “diving” into an owl’s facial feathers? And should owls not be accorded the power to say NO, concerning their own faces? But we digress. The author — who is either dead or too shy to collect royalties — appears to make a naive, yet defiant plea for autonomous childhood sexuality. The relentless dactylic meter: Little Miss Muffet, she sat on a tuffet/ Eating her curds and whey… points to a consuming subtextual passion, or perhaps an eating disorder. Questions arise. The word tuffet is, no doubt, meant to suggest either some sort of furniture, or a sexual organ — but exactly what does this organ look like? Is it a Hammond or a Wurlitzer? Also, does this tuffet need to be reupholstered

after a lot of steamy Muffet action? Interestingly, E.F. Divan’s classic, “I Shagged Ethan Allen: Intercourse In and On Traditional American Furniture,” fails to mention the tuffet, reminding us of just how deeply repressed this country’s living room sets really are. This makes us want to go out and buy something nice at Pottery Barn or Victoria’s Secret. Which begs the question: What were underpants like in those days? Alas, we may never know, for no sooner are the exposition and rising action presented than the narrative reaches its searing climax: Along came a spider and sat down beside her… All too soon, we know the tragic consequences. The dark, hairy spider literally “frightens Miss Muffet away.” This spider — symbolizing adult female genitalia (get it?) — is a terrifyingly mature sexual presence, alerting the girl to the woman she is to become and to the demands of an oppressive patriarchal culture. Worse: Muffet’s erotic crisis becomes our own. Think about it. If a large female crotch on eight legs crawled over and sat down beside you, could YOU go on with your life? I doubt it. This poem first appeared circa 1697, yet our Little Miss has done nothing since. Muffet has had over 300 years either to acknowledge her

c

SNIDE LINES, continued on p.67

June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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PERSPECTIVE: Prevention Options

A Morning-After Pill for HIV; But Seriously, the Morning After BY RICHARD E. GREENE, MD & PERRY N. HALKITIS, PHD, MS, MPH

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FENWAY COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER

I

n the past few years, we have experienced a revolution in the prevention of HIV. Gone are the days when approaches based on changing behavior were the only options. Biomedical technologies have provided us another set of tools in the arsenal to fight AIDS. Robust scientific evidence has demonstrated that individuals at high risk for contracting HIV can now significantly reduce their risk of contracting the virus if they take a pill a day for the duration of the time that they are high-risk. Slowly but surely this strategy, called Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP for short, is being adopted by healthcare workers as something to offer people who are at risk. In fact, it is one of the key components of the New York State Plan to End AIDS. We call it a revolution, because it moves us forward in how we think and talk about HIV prevention, both between providers and patients and between sex partners (whether long-term, casual, or just potential). It moves us away from sex-negative messages and removes a great deal of fear many high-risk folks had about contracting HIV through sex. PrEP offers us many opportunities in the way we think and talk about HIV prevention, and counters the often sex-negative behavioral strategies. To date, one drug, Truvada (a combination pill containing two medications, tenofovir and emtricitabine) is approved for PrEP, but others are on the way as are injectable medications that would remove the burden of taking a pill every day — a reality that many HIV-positive people, of course, live with. But PrEP is not the only innovation we have at our disposal. Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PEP, is akin to the morning-after pill used to prevent pregnancy —

but for HIV. Many young people know about PEP. In fact, as part of the ongoing P18 Cohort Study at NYU’s Center for Health Identity Behavior and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS), we have surveyed 460 young men and transgender women ages 22 and 23, and 74 percent said they had heard of PEP. But only 8 percent have ever used it. (A similar proportion has heard about PrEP, and only 7 percent reported ever using it.) Why haven’t more people used PEP? PEP should be started within 36 hours of HIV exposure, so it is usually dispensed in hospital emergency rooms or urgent care centers. People are often given a “starter pack” of the meds and then asked to follow up with an outpatient primary care provider. The problem is, providers who work in the ER or the urgent care center generally haven’t seen the person before the highrisk encounter, so there is limited rapport. To make matters worse, many primary care providers don’t prescribe PEP with any regularity. This prevention approach, then, is often lost in the mix of available strategies. Of the 38 young men who had used PEP in our study, most had used it only once and because they had engaged in condom-less sex with partners whose HIV status they did not know. PEP is not a new idea. Since 1996, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the use of PEP

to treat health care providers who may have been exposed with needle sticks from HIV-infected patients. (In fact, sometimes the term nPEP — for non-occupational post exposure prophylaxis — is used to differentiate PEP used by health care professionals who experience an occupational exposure from that used by people who have sexual exposure to HIV. How does PEP work? It is meant to be used after sex, and getting the first pills within the 36 hours after a risk exposure is critical. These high-risk exposures include having condomless sex as a receptive partner with someone who is living with untreated HIV. PEP works by getting medication — in fact, a combination of three antiHIV medications — into the blood and body to block the uptake of HIV before it can take hold in your system and result in infection. This is why timing is essential. PEP can sometimes be effective if initiated as long as 72 hours after the encounter, but the sooner the better. After the 72-hour mark, the pills are not likely to be effective. Unlike PrEP, which is only one pill, PEP often is composed of a combination of pills. A variety of antiviral pills combinations are used as PEP, although T ruvada and Isentress (raltegravir) are commonly prescribed. The medications are meant to be taken for 30 days following the exposure, and it is important to take the pills regularly. It is also helpful to

know any antivirals the HIV-positive sex partner with whom you had a high-risk exposure is taking in case that person’s virus has developed resistance to the meds you are prescribed. You should also disclose whether you are on Truvada as PrEP. It is also essential to be honest when being evaluated for PEP about what actually happened during sex, even though some people feel uncomfortable disclosing those sorts of intimate details. Perhaps the most important thing to know about PEP is that it exists, it is effective, and how and when to get it. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, go to an ER or urgent care center (or your primary care provider, but only if they are available right away), and get started quickly. You will have a rapid HIV test to make sure you are negative when initiating the treatment and a screen for STDs and kidney and liver function. If you are unsure of whether you need PEP, it is always a good idea to be evaluated. Even if you start PEP and come to the decision with your primary health care provider that the encounter was not high-risk (in the case where the partner gets re-tested and is negative, for instance), you can stop the treatment. Once the 72 hours has passed, though, it will be too late to change your mind and decide to begin the PEP. Anyone who wants more information on PEP or PrEP can go to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website, which has a wealth of information for patients and health care providers at nyc.gov/html/ doh/html/living/prep-pep.shtml. Richard E. Greene is assistant professor of medicine and the medical director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies at New York University. Perry N. Halkitis is professor of applied psychology, global public health, and medicine and the director of CHIBPS. Anyone interested in participating in CHIBPS studies or learning more about the research it carries out can visit chibps.org. Follow Halkitis on Twitter @DrPNHalkitis or visit perrynhalkitis.com. June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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DYKE ABROAD, from p.64

their sorority girlfriends decked out themselves in the dresses of Southern belles, I just thought they were all assholes. Not racists getting trained up to exercise their ideology behind closed doors, though that’s what it amounts to. I had the leisure to forgot all about it, until I read “A Black Girl’s History with Southern Frat Racism,” a recent essay by Tracy Clayton, one of a small number of black students at Transy who succeeded in putting an end to the public display of the Confederate flag there. Despite being trained up by my years in New York, getting crash courses in race and tracking the violence against my own LGBT community, it was a kind of shock, an awakening to how blind I was then, and where ignorance could have taken me, but didn’t. “Growing up in the hood, you assume that living where white folks live means safer streets and unlocked doors,” Clayton wrote.

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subconscious inner “spider” and come out as queer — or to conform to society’s dictates, accept heterosexuality as normative, and go buy a can of RAID. But no. Caught in the endless web of meter and rhyme, she is doomed for eternity to repeat this puerile stimulus-response cycle. The Miss has muffed it, and now we will all have to “tuffet” out.

Finally, we arrive at: Little Jack Horner/ Sat in a corner/ Eating his Christmas pie. The name “Horner” obviously suggests “horny.” However, the word horny could not be used in this rhyme scheme, as Jack would then have had to sit in a “corny.” Anyhow, Jack needed to sit facing the door in case the cops busted in. But let’s get back to what Jack was — “eating.” Notice the roundness of the pie, its moist, tumescent insides. Jack wanted that pie. Wanted it bad. It reminded him of a sailor’s butt. A sailor’s butt on Christmas leave. Yes … Christmas. Christmas with its hot candles, its moist, tumescent carols. Carols simmering in a sauce of orgasmic fixation on the male love-object: “O GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

“But I never feared for my safety more than I did at Transylvania University. Those flags were often the first things I saw in the morning and the last things I saw at night, smugly watching me scurry to class, snickering, mocking. Well, I do declare! Look at that uppity coon, making like she belongs here, like she’s one of us. This is what happens when you teach ‘em to read. Hope that nigger makes it home before the sun goes down.”

Assemblymember

Deborah J. Glick

For all those that didn’t make it in Charleston — #saytheirnames: Reverend Clementa Pinckney, Reverend Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson, Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lee Lance, Cynthia Hurd, Reverend Daniel L. Simmons Sr., Reverend DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Susie Jackson. Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” from the University of Minnesota

COME, Let Us Adore Him”… “Joy to the World, the Lord Has COME” … “COME, they told me, pa-rumpum-pum-pum” … “Pum.” That word pum. It made Jack crazy, just thinking about it. That is why Jack: stuck in his thumb and pulled out a PLUM… Jack’s throbbing digit rammed itself into the moist, tumescent fruit, which opened to him gratefully. He thought of the plum’s color — mauve, the color of world homosexual domination. Jack thought of all the other moist, tumescent fruits he had plunged into over the years. “Happy Birthday, Jesus,” moaned Jack. Then he died. In summary: Horner’s death; Muffet’s paralyzing Weltschmerz. These things happen because sex, death, and eating are inextricably bound up in Western culture, and only a literary deconstruction such as this can unravel them. Yet Western culture is already deconstructing — and with it, we, ourselves. So let’s hurry up and overthrow patriarchal capitalist imperialism, you guys, before it’s too late. Susie Day is the author of “Snidelines: Talking Trash to Power,” published by Abdingdon Square Publishing.

New Yorkʼs First Out Legislator Wishes You a Happy Pride! Continuing to fight for LGBT and Human Rights Serving our Community Since 1990

Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick, 66th District 212-674-5153 • glickd@assembly.state.ny.us

The LGBT Community’s Own New York State Senator Brad Hoylman

Representing Greenwich Village, Assembly Member

the Lower East Side, Chelsea, Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen, the Upper West Side, Midtown, East Midtown, Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, Columbus Circle, and Times Square.

Dick Gottfried wishes you a

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

Assembly Member Same Sex Marriage

DICK GOTTFRIED Introduced first bill you a in NYSwishes Assembly

HAPPY PRIDE!

GENDA Same Sex Marriage

Introduced first bill (Transgender Rights) in NYS Assembly IntroducerGENDA and lead [Transgender Rights] sponsorIntroducer in NYS Assembly and lead sponsor in NYS Assembly

Dick Gottfried’s Gottfried’s Community Office: Dick Community Office: 242 West 27th Street, Ground Floor 242 West 27th Street, ground floor Phone: 212.807.7900 Email: GottfriedR@nysa.us Ph: 212-807-7900, E-mail: GottfriedR@nysa.us

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IN THE NOH

Jonathan’s New Brain Blissfully out actor Groff embraces his community, revels in the work opportunities before him

JOAN MARCUS

HBO

Jonathan Groff in his two-season HBO series “Looking.”

BY DAVID NOH

T

hough actor Jonathan Groff’s HBO show “Looking” was recently canceled after just two seasons, he has definitely landed butter side up, with the fun and juicy role of King George in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s brilliantly soulful, burgeoning theatrical juggernaut “Hamilton,” set to open on Broadway this season. In the meantime, he is doing Encores! revival of William Finn’s “A New Brain” (New York City Center, 131 West 55th Street, through June 27; nycitycenter.org). Radiantly handsome and delightfully real, he had just hopped off his bike (riding it to City Center from 16th street), told me he had the same antiquated microcassette recorder I was using (my digital having gone AWOL in the black hole that is my apartment), and described his latest musical foray to me. “It’s sort of an autobiographical story about [the show’s composer] Bill Finn, who, right after he won the Tony for ‘Falsettos,’ collapsed on the street and went into the hospital, Something in his brain exploded, and he had to have emergency surgery and nearly died. The thing that makes this

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show so relatable is his hospital experience and the sort of drama and hilarity that happens when suddenly you’re thrust into this system with all the different nurses and your family and the choices you have to make, also the way that you’re given this very serious information in this sort of formal way. My dad just went through open heart surgery two months ago and this is so much like that, waiting to find out what you’re gonna do, and this show sort of encapsulates all of that. “The music is so fucking beautiful. I have been obsessed with this show since high school, 15 years ago. It’s one of Finn’s lesser known scores, the perfect show to do at Encores! because it’s one of those scores that people don’t know or haven’t heard in a while. It’s my dream role, which is funny because I never think of dream roles. Last summer I saw Lin-Manuel Miranda do ‘Tick Tick Boom’ at Encores! and thought I’d love to do ‘A New Brain’ for a week. Then Jeanine Tesori, who runs this program, reached out to me and asked if I wanted to do it next summer, this weird coincidence! “The show hasn’t been seen since 1998, and what is surprising is I thought we would just put it up and honor it, but [director]

Jonathan Groff will reprise his role as King George when “Hamilton” hits Broadway later this year.

James Lapine and Bill wanted to look at it again and reshape and make it better than it was before. They’re making some changes to the score, cutting and moving things around, and hopefully making it a more effective evening than it was originally.” Following this, Groff goes into “Hamilton”, the only white member of the cast: “Brian d’Arcy James played King George for the first month of the run at the Public Theater and I did the last month. ‘Something Rotten’ came up for Brian, which originally wasn’t supposed to move to Broadway this season. When they asked me to do come in, I said yes because I love Lin, Tommy Kail, the director, and the Public. ‘Yeah, sure, I’ll do it, will be fun for two months or whatever,’ not realizing how epic and groundbreaking the show was. I saw it before I went into it and thought, ‘Ohmigod, I’ve won the lottery!,’ to be able to jump into this pool of actors and creative team, who are so lovely. “And it’s not that thing where 99.9 percent of the time, you’re trying to get people to come see the show. With ‘Hamilton,’ you could feel the energy from the audience right away. I had to do the lottery to get a ticket for a friend — my own show — so that

adds to the excitement, knowing you’re performing a show people are elbowing their way into.” In “Hamilton,” Groff enjoys the kind of instant audience adoration it takes other actors a lifetime to win, especially with his second entrance when you can feel everyone blissfully grinning at him. “It’s so in the writing because King George does not spend a lot of time on stage but the way they’ve placed him throughout is incredibly effective with the audience going, ‘Ohmigod, here he comes again!’ Three weeks ago, our music director Alex Lacamoire and I sang my first song at a benefit, and I was interested in seeing how it would play outside the context of show and it killed! I texted Lin afterwards and said, ‘You’re a crazy genius!’ Even out of context, the show is just fucking hilarious, so, so clever in his writing.” While Groff was performing in ‘Hamilton,’ he got the news that his HBO series, “Looking,” was canceled. “Landing the show helped soften the blow because I was so upset that it was over. It was amazing how you could feel the audience shift when the first season came out. That was a complex response which I felt was a reflection of the fact that there just isn’t enough gay programming on TV, so everybody puts a lot of expectation on something that’s the only thing on the air. The lovely thing about doing press for the second season was that everybody now knew what the show was, so they could just watch the show instead of watching it in the context of the entire gay community. “That’s why it’s such a bummer to me that it’s canceled because I thought that we were just finding our groove. But the silver lining is we get to do it again when they make the film of it later this year. Hopefully, there will be some sense of closure and goodbye.” Groff considers “Looking” director Andrew Haigh another genius in his life: “I saw his film ‘Weekend’ in a New York movie theater and was like ‘Wha-at?!’ The first gay film that I felt super into, it was all so very real. He’s a sneaky poet because he paints with this palette of total realism but then

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JOAN MARCUS/ NEW YORK CITY CENTER

at the end you realize how meticulous everything was. You feel this slice of life just happening and then you get to the end and you’re like, ‘Oh, this all added up to something!’ Like he just dropped his camera into real life with no commercials or manipulative underscoring, which he never uses, a beautiful and surprising style of working.” Even those of us, like myself, who may have resisted aspects of “Looking,” were entirely won over by the Season 1 finale, which had Groff simply cocooning his troubles away, in bed, watching the perennially comforting “The Golden Girls”: “Exactly. I totally watched ‘Golden Girls’ with my family, but I was more into ‘I Love Lucy’ — own every episode — and ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’ and ‘Mary Tyler Moore.’ I just watched a ‘Mary’ show I got on Amazon last night, before I went to bed. There’s something very comforting about the opening [sings the opening the theme music].” Groff has been out of the closet since 2009: “I wouldn’t say it was easy. I was completely closeted all throughout ‘Spring Awakening’ on Broadway. I had a boyfriend/ ‘roommate’ for three and a half years, whom I met in Pennsylvania. We both lived in New York and had this secret relationship. Other people assumed what was going on, obviously, but we never spoke to anyone, even our families, about it. It was so ironic because ‘Spring’ was all about sexual repression and there I was, so repressed. “I came from a [Mennonite] community where being gay was not welcomed with open arms but I also grew up sort of in the middle generation. The gay community is such a huge umbrella: there are the older men who went through the AIDS crisis, some of whom are still not out. It was way more taboo than my generation, could never imagine marriage as a possibility, but I grew up with ‘Will and Grace,’ and now, it’s kids growing up with the idea of marriage and all these other examples, which keep getting better, as the years go by, as far as acceptance goes. “It wasn’t so easy for me to

Jonathan Groff appears in City Center’s production of “A New Brain” June 24-27.

declare being gay, even though I was in the theater community. I went by myself to Italy for two weeks and was journaling, and I thought, ‘Ohmigod, what am I doing?’ I came back and came out to my family and friends and a year later I was dating someone, and was asked at a gay rally what did I represent, and that’s when I publicly said that I was gay, to Broadway.com. “Even though I was out in my personal life, I felt slightly nervous about it, like when you’re about to throw up a little bit, this sweaty thing. That’s the power of coming out: once I declared it personally first, and then professionally, any anxiety I had about it went away. Like they say, the truth will set you free and I thank God that I live in New York and in a theater/ film/ TV world where it’s not taboo to be gay so I don’t feel like an outsider in the community where I work. I was so embraced and that doesn’t happen to everybody. “For me, coming out was the best. I’m a totally different person and to think back to that person in the closet, ‘Wow, who was that guy?’ It’s still me, but life has gotten so much better, without that sense of always trying to negotiate the extra energy to compartmentalize. I never lied to the press, but I was always finding ways to dodge the question, making sure

they never asked. Ohmigod, who has the time for that?” Playing gay or straight has also become a non-issue for Groff: “I no longer had to worry about not looking gay when playing gay, or trying to seem straight playing straight. It now is just about the intimacy between two people when you’re acting, unless you’re playing a super butch lesbian or a very effeminate gay man. Once I was out, I became fearless with men and women, talking about what was happening in the scene and not bringing my own baggage into negotiating who I was or wasn’t.” Groff was one of the gay actors singled out in Ramin Satoodeh’s creepy Newsweek article about the impossibility of gay actors playing heterosexuals: “Oh, that was fine with me, which I sort of equated to getting a bad review, which I’ve gotten millions of times, saying I’m not believably playing my character. What he was saying about the population of gay actors in general was so absurd to me. What he said about me personally, I sort of shrugged off, that’s his opinion of me and that’s fair.” Groff’s honesty will undoubtedly make it easier for younger, unsure gays coming up, as actors before him like Christopher Sieber and Cheyenne Jackson helped clear the way for him.: “Yeah,

and Gavin Creel was a big one for me. We like dated and he was so inspiring, and continues to be, as an out actor and activist. He was the one for me who kicked it over the edge. I owe so much to him, learning from him and taking his lead. Groff is single now: “For a couple of years now [laughs]. I was a serial monogamist for a decade, so you go through phases, I guess. But let me say that when I was in high school one of the reasons I became obsessed with ‘A New Brain’ was because there was this love duet, which I just finished singing downstairs, which was between two men. I didn’t really realize back then but it was the first time I saw men singing love duets to each other. I grew up with ‘Oklahoma,’ ‘South Pacific,’ and even ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie.’ And of course there was ‘La Cage aux Folles’ and ‘Falsettos,’ plenty with gay stories for me growing up in Pennsylvania. Now I get to exorcise all these feelings, performing such a beautiful gay storyline, so well-defined and complicated, with this beautiful relationship between these two men that is so great.” Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@ aol.com, follow him on Twitter @ in_the_noh, and check out his blog at nohway.wordpress.com.

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THEATER

Dream Lover Come Rescue Me When your closest friends find love and move forward, leaving you far behind BY DAVID KENNERLEY

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JOAN MARCUS

ed-hot playwright Joshua Harmon (his “Bad Jews” is currently the third most-produced play in the US) has insisted his characters are not based on actual people, not even himself. Which is all the more impressive given that the characters in his latest play, “Significant Other,” are so sharply drawn, their plights so personal and immediate, that they feel quite real. At times painfully so. Take the gawky, socially stunted protagonist, Jordan Berman. He loves hanging in the city with his BFFs, tossing back drinks and Lindsay Mendez and Gideon Glick in Joshua Harmon’s “Significant Other,” directed boogying down to the aptly chosen by Trip Cullman. Rihanna anthem “We found love in a hopeless place.” As embodied with heart- taking off his shirt at the company pool party. wrenching sensitivity by Gideon Glick (“Spring Yet he has no problem rhapsodizing about Awakening”), he’s got more twitchy neuroses his hunky new co-worker, Will, recalling in than Woody Allen. Jordan is a self-deprecating exhausting detail how the pool water dripped gay Jewish man who relies on psychotherapy down his muscular body — his beguiling and antidepressants and wields humor like a neck, biceps, nipples, ribs, and belly button. Or admitting that he slipped into the changing sword. It’s no surprise that the hyperaware Jordan room and sniffed Will’s T-shirt and fondled his has got serious body-image issues, fearful of size 12 Converse sneakers.

SIGNIFICANT OTHER Roundabout Theatre Company Laura Pels Theatre 111 W. 46th St. Tue.-Sat. at 7:30 p.m. Wed., Sat.-Sun. at 2 p.m. Through Aug. 16 $79; roundabouttheatre.org Or 212-719-1300 Two hrs., 15 mins., with intermission

Sure, it’s exceedingly creepy, but Glick imbues him with enough endearing charm that we forgive such puerile obsessions. One by one, his besties find significant others and get hitched. Kiki (Sas Goldberg) weds Conrad, a beer-swilling jerk who is totally devoted to her. Vanessa (Carra Patterson) falls for Roger, a sweet guy she got fixed up with at Kiki’s wedding. By chance, Laura (Lindsay Mendez) meets Tony, a metrosexual teacher with impossibly cute ears, during a professional development day. She hides her new man from Jordan, to spare his feelings, for as long as she can. The women’s roles are articulated with frankness and finesse; likewise John Behlmann and Luke Smith do a nice job delineating the various boyfriend roles. Veteran actor Barbara Barrie makes a welcome appearance as Jordan’s frail, loving grandmother, seemingly his only family member available for support. Inexplicably — and somewhat implausibly — Jordan has not one gay male friend.

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Weekend Warriors

Friends on a weekend retreat debate abortion, race, gay rights, and who washes the dishes BY DAVID KENNERLEY

F

or most people, a weekend getaway in the country with good friends is a slice of heaven — a carefree break from the demands of workaday life, sipping wine, sharing good meals and conversation, and taking in the fresh air. Dramatist Michael Perlman is not one of those people. In his absorbing, gloriously chaotic new play, “At the Table,” such escapes can have a dark underbelly. The gifted playwright (he also directs) is acutely attuned to the prickly logistics and interpersonal

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dynamics a weekend retreat can bring. And the struggle to balance one’s own needs with those of the group. Who takes charge of meals? Do you offer to clear the table and wash the dishes? Who has to crash on the couch? What do you do if the bathroom door won’t lock? Are you a loser if you refuse to smoke pot? Is it impolite to have sex? But the hyperaware playwright delves even deeper. The savvy, articulate friends are game for vigorous debates about tinderbox issues like abortion, race, gay marriage, and gender equality. Even the topic of slavery gets

hashed out. That’s right — slavery. Perlman, the GLAAD awardwinning author of “From White Plains,” has assembled a fairly diverse group, all hovering around 30 years old, and half the fun is trying to determine who’s who. In Act I, seated around the dinner table are Lauren (Rachel Christopher), a black woman who seems to enjoy the caretaker role, and her jerky blowhard of a boyfriend, Stuart (Craig Wesley Divino). Elliot (Jimmy King), a mopey gay man, has brought a childhood friend, Chris (Claire Karpen), an attractive feminist who is having

AT THE TABLE Fault Line Theatre HERE Arts Center 145 Sixth Ave. at Dominick St. Through Jul. 19 Wed.-Sun. at 8:30 p.m. $29; here.org or 212-352-3101 Two hrs., 20 mins., with intermission

a rough time fitting in to the tightknit group. Another newbie is Lauren’s friend Nicholas (Jude Sandy), a gay man originally from

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June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


HAPPY PRIDE FROM THE WHITNEY! Whitney Museum of American Art 99 Gansevoort Street #NewWhitney

For information about new exhibition tours exploring gender, sexuality, and LGBTQ perspectives in American art, visit whitney.org/Pride. Tours are free with admission.

GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

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THEATER

Pride Plays — And Musicals and Spectacles What to see and how to get in as you celebrate BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE

at shows that opened in the season that just ended and performances from June 23 through July 1, but bear in mind that availability can change daily.

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Fun Home

JOAN MARCUS

elcome to our fifth annual round-up of what’s on, what you should see, and how you can get in if you plan to make a trip to the theater part of your Pride celebration — and you haven’t planned ahead. The good news is that if there’s something you want to see, you’re probably going to be able to see it, but it’s going to cost you time or money. If you enter one of the ticket lotteries that have become increasingly prevalent, it will take time and luck to get in. To find a lottery, search online the name of the show and “lottery,” and you’ll be able to find it. In some cases, you’ll be sitting right down front, but for a show like “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” still going strong with Darren Criss in the title role, that could be a lot of fun. The TKTS booth at 47th and Broadway is still a reliable source for day-of tickets. It opens at 11 a.m. for matinees and 3 p.m. for evening shows. There’s a separate line exclusively for plays, which is usually a lot shorter. It’s worth it to download the TKTS app, which will let you see what’s up when the booth is open and what’s been up in the past week to give you a sense of what may be up in the days ahead. There are also TKTS booths at the South Street Seaport and in downtown Brooklyn at Metrotech. Over the past couple of weeks, the three booths have not all listed the same shows, so, for example, you could find seats for “Beautiful” downtown and in Brooklyn but not at Times Square. TodayTix is an app-based service that also offers discounts. While they won’t always be as deep as those at the TKTS booth, you’ll still save over the listed price. You won’t get definite seats, but you will pick the section of the theater you’ll be in. Best of all, you can do it on your mobile device, and for many of the hotter shows, you’ll be met out front right before the show by the really friendly staff who will give you

Sydney Lucas and Michael Cerveris in “Fun Home.”

your tickets, “concierge-style.” Signing up for TheaterMania also gives you access to offers that you purchase with codes through Telecharge or Ticketmaster. We recently purchased two orchestra seats for “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” at $89 each that were directly adjacent to two premium seats on the aisle, offered at $250 each. Speaking of paying full price or more, most shows now offer premium seating. This varies by show and can range from an incremental $20-$30 over the cost of a standard orchestra seat to multiples of two to three times. Even so, premium tickets for “Fun Home,” which just took the Best Musical Tony, are very hard to come by during Pride Week. There are also your classic ticket brokers, the concierge at better hotels, and resale sites where you’ll pay the higher prices. Stub Hub has theater seats, and a relative newcomer, Vivid Seats, is another online marketplace where people can snag tickets. We did see good — not great — seats for “Fun Home” during Pride Week, ranging from $175 to more than $350 apiece, and while you’re dealing with a

company that acts as the middleman in protecting your payment information and offering customer service, you’re still reliant on an individual to FedEx you the tickets in time. If you really want to go “old school,” try walking up to the box office. I’ve often had good luck on the day of a show. If you’re willing to take singles and pay full price, you may get great seats — even house seats still open at the last minute. The advantage of going to the box office, even if you aren’t trying for last-minute tickets, is that you do save a lot on additional fees. The foregoing is really about Broadway shows, and there’s plenty of great stuff happening Off-Broadway as well. If you have never had the experience of Shakespeare in the Park — my absolute favorite New York summer activity — that’s worth a day of lounging in Central Park to get tickets, which are free. Currently on is “The Tempest” with Sam Waterston as Prospero. Go to PublicTheater.org for full information on getting seats.

Here are some of my personal recommendations, and we looked

Circle In The Square 1663 Broadway at 50th St. The multi-Tony-winning best musical features a remarkable score by Jeanine Tesori and book by Lisa Kron based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir. Part lesbian coming-of-age story, part dysfunctional family saga, it is both heartwarming and entertaining, largely because of its honesty and humanity. Michael Cerveris, Judy Kuhn, and Beth Malone are all sensational, but you need to see this before Sydney Lucas grows out of the part of Young Alison. Tickets available by lottery through TodayTix for $32 seats every day. Otherwise, only premium seats through brokers and resellers. (Full Gay City News review at gaycitynews.nyc/home-hurt)

The King and I Vivian Beaumont at Lincoln Center 150 W. 65th St. Kelli O’Hara got her much-deserved Tony for her multi-layered performance as Anna Leonowens, an English tutor in the 19th century royal court of Siam. Ruthie Ann Miles took the Tony as well as Lady Thiang, with a beautiful, sensitive portrayal of the king’s head wife. Bartlett Sher directs with a contemporary sensibility while Michael Yeargen (sets) and Catherine Zuber (costumes) give the show a classic look. Tickets available for premium seats through brokers and resellers. (gaycitynews.nyc/power-plays)

On the Twentieth Century Roundabout Theatre Company at the American Airlines Theater 227 W. 42nd St. Kristin Chenoweth is back in top form as the irresistible triple threat — singer, dancer, comedienne

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queer artists forming communities through social media exhibition runs through August 2 C

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Andy Karl and Kristin Chenoweth in the revival of “On the Twentieth Century.”

JOAN MARCUS

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PRIDE PLAYS, from p.72

Finding Neverland Lunt Fontanne Theatre 205 W. 46th St. Though spurned by the Tonys and trashed by the critics, this is still a visually sumptuous and crowd-pleasing show. That is, if the crowd is not too demanding. The reason to see this is for the terrific performances from Matthew Morrison and Carolee Carmello, as well as the plucky kids. It’s still not an easy ticket to get. There are some rear and side orchestra, some front mezzanine, and more rear mezzanine seats available. Discounts occasionally available on TodayTix and at TKTS. (gaycitynews.nyc/flying-high-2)

Hand to God Booth Theatre 222 W. 45th St. This provocative play about a hand puppet seemingly possessed by the devil is shockingly hilarious. Even as over-the-top as it is, though, it still raises some engaging GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

JOAN MARCUS

extraordinaire — in this buoyant revival of the classic Cy Coleman musical. Tons of singing and dancing and packed with classic charm, this was arguably the last of the old fashioned musicals when it arrived in 1978, and that’s all captured in this great production. Andy Karl’s turn as a self-involved movie actor is not to be missed. Full price tickets available rear and side orchestra, some mezzanine. Discounts often available on TodayTix and at TKTS, especially for matinees. (gaycitynews.nyc/ comedy-tonight)

K

26 Wooster St., NYC LeslieLohman.org Alesia Exum, Macy Rodman, 2013 Courtesy the artist

Steven Boyer as Jason with Jason’s evil puppet creation Tyrone in “Hand to God.”

and important issues about faith and morality in our culture. Steven Boyer’s tour-de-force performances as the boy in thrall to his puppet Tyrone is not to be missed. Good availability in rear and side orchestra and the mezzanine for all performances. Premium tickets available at the box office for center orchestra. Discounts frequently available on TodayTix and at TKTS. (gaycitynews.nyc/ dirty-sock-puppets)

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An American in Paris Palace Theatre 1564 Broadway at 47th St. If there is a “perfect musical,” this is it. Visually astonishing and brilliantly performed, the classic tale has a new, deeper, darker book by Craig Lucas and choreography by Christopher Wheeldon. The score is Gershwin gold. Robert Fairchild took the Drama Desk for actor in a musical, and his dancing is spectacular. Leeanne Cope is sublime as his love interest, and the supporting performances by Max Von Essen

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PRIDE PLAYS, continued on p.108

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June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

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THEATER & FILM

Mad About the Boys 1970 film adaptation of Mart Crowley’s groundbreaking ’68 gay play hits Blu-ray vital as ever BY DAVID EHRENSTEIN

Y

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KINO LORBER

ou know what you are Michael? You’re a real person.” “Thank you and fuck you.” So Donald and Michael breezily banter early on in “The Boys in the Band,” Mart Crowley’s hilarious, tumultuous, and fascinatingly seminal play about a gaggle of gay men at a birthday party and the “Is he gay or isn’t he?” interloper who nearly upends it. A big hit and a point of considerable controversy for 47 years, “The Boys” is like an old boyfriend who despite a bad break-up is impossible to forget. That’s partially because it went on to influence such important works as Terrence McNally’s “Love! Valour! Compassion!,” and Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America.” But it’s also a result of qualities that the piece embodies in and of itself. This Donald/ Michael exchange isn’t the work’s most memorable moment. The play is full of wittily bitchy verbal set-tos and slyly, potent one-liners (my favorite being Michael answering the phone with “Backstage, “New Moon!” ). Crowley maintains the speed and intensity from first to last, and in a vernacular that urban gay men who had “chosen families” like this one recognized at once back in 1968 but that the play’s straight admirers did not. With the 1970 film version being released this month on Blu-ray, a new look at “The Boys” is very much in order — for the work’s own sake and more importantly in relation to what we now call “the LGBT community.” There wasn’t a “community” back then. We were just “them” — outcasts, misfits, and, until 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association decided to “declassify” us, unfortunates suffering from a “mental disorder.” In 1968, we were “neurotics,” and our alleged “neurosis” demanded psychoanalytic treatment (Donald’s shrink, it will be remembered, cancelled a session with him just prior to the start of the action). This made “The Boys in the Band” something of a Mental Health Week freak show for straights, long curious as to “who these people are,” but chary of finding out at anything less than a safe distance. And thus we have the lineup of, in novelist (and Crowley compatriot) Gavin Lambert’s words, “Guilty Catholic, Angry Jew, Flaming Queen, All-American Mixed-Up Kid.” It was a set-up that Pauline Kael (who didn’t like the film, comparing it to 1940s war movies where bombers were invariably manned by a social cross-section of American heterosexuals) quipped “allowed the actors to behave on-stage as they did off.” Having had a daughter with bisexual — and later in life exclusively gay — filmmaker James Broughton, she knew some-

The 1970 film “Boys in the Band” is now available on Blu-ray.

THE BOYS IN THE BAND Written by Mart Crowley Directed by William Friedkin Kino Lorber On Blu-ray: $29.95

thing about it. But not everything. And most straight audiences knew nothing save for “gossip.” Of the “nudge-nudge, wink-wink” variety. That Kenneth Nelson (Michael), Frederic Combs (Donald), Keith Prentice (Larry) Robert La Tourneaux (“Cowboy”), and Leonard Frey (Harold) were “that way” in “real life” was understood by those “in the know,” but of course never discussed in that long-ago era. Peter White (the mysterious party-crasher “Alan McCarthy”) was straight, as was Laurence Luckinbill (“Hank”) and, most memorably, Cliff Gorman (the ultraswishy “Emory”). As for Rueben Greene (“Bernard”) he’s more mysterious in real life than Alan McCarthy — not only regarding his orientation, but in where he permanently disappeared to. The person in all this whose sexual orientation counted the most, of course, was author Mart Crowley. His writing “The Boys in the Band” was partially inspired by a notorious New York Times piece “Homosexual Drama and Its Disguises,”

written by the paper’s theater critic Stanley Kauffmann and published in the Sunday edition on January 23, 1966. Kauffmann set off a cultural firestorm by declaring that the three leading American playwrights were homosexuals and their works exhibited a “viciousness towards women” coupled with “lurid violence” and what he called “transvestite sexual exhibitionism.” Writing that he was “weary of disguised homosexual influence in the theater,” Kauffman charged their work offered “a badly distorted picture of American women, marriage, and society in general.” Kauffmann teasingly declined to name names, but it was clear that his targets were Edward Albee, Tennessee Williams, and William Inge. The raging antipathy of highly placed homophobes to this trio had long been understood, especially in the case of Albee. In a 1965 New York Review of Books piece smarmily entitled “The Play That Dares Not Speak Its Name,” Phillip Roth let loose on the Pulitzer Prize-winner. “In ‘Tiny Alice,’ the metaphysics, such as they are, appear to be Albee’s deepest concern — and no doubt about it, he wants his concerns to seem deep,” Roth wrote. “But this new play isn’t about the problems of faith-and-doubt or appearance-and-reality, any more than “Virginia Woolf” was about ‘the Decline of the West’; mostly, when the characters in ‘Tiny Alice’ suffer over epistemology, they are really suffering the consequences of human deceit, subterfuge, and hypocrisy. Albee sees in human nature very much what Maupassant did, only he wants to talk about it like Plato. In this way he not only distorts his observations, but subverts his own powers, for it is not the riddles of philosophy that bring his talent to life, but the ways of cruelty and humiliation. Like “Virginia Woolf,’ ‘Tiny Alice’ is about the triumph of a strong woman over a weak man.” Metaphysics were Albee’s deepest concern. But to a dim bulb like Roth all that must be brushed aside in favor of screaming “FAG!” as loudly as sotto voce allowed. “The disaster of the play,” Roth declares, “its tediousness, its pretentiousness, its galling sophistication, its gratuitous and easy symbolizing, its ghastly pansy rhetoric and repartee — all of this can be traced to his own unwillingness or inability to put its real subject at the center of the action.” “Tiny Alice” opens with two obviously gay prelates evidencing the “pansy rhetoric” Roth so haughtily turns his nose up at. They’re a mere “curtain-raiser,” but for Roth they must be front and center. He has no interest in dealing with the writer Albee actually is. “Tiny Alice” is not at all naturalistic and, therefore, in no way inclined to deal with “homosexuality” as a subject. In “The Zoo Story,” the brilliant one-act play that launched “Albee’s” career, Jerry is gay and his meeting in Central Park with the buttoned-down — and buttoned-up — Peter might be described as the World’s Worst Failed Pick-Up. But the play is in no way “about” sexual orientation. Its concern is with language, and its tradition dates

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IN THE BAND, continued on p.102

June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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FILM

Romance With Ambiguity

them. Repetition helps me do that. Especially in regard to theater and film, where repetition is part of their nature and artifice.

Matías Piñeiro, gay Argentine filmmaker, driven by love of novel solutions for narrative BY GARY M. KRAMER

G

GARY M. KRAMER: Your films include many texts, and you use a visual medium to represent them. How do you conceive of and construct your stories? MATÍAS PIÑEIRO: I like the paradox of text in film. It is hard for cinema to deal with text, so film has to use the options it has to create a new way of telling a story that can include a text. The paradox is that cinema is a visual medium, and text seems to work against that. It pushes me to find an alternative way of telling a story, and that’s exciting. I put that in my research — it’s a key frame — the first material from which I can develop a narrative. GMK: Your films are intimate, and emphasize mood over plot. Can you discuss how you approach narrative and atmosphere? MP: You start to see that there’s a hierarchy. It’s not plot and the rest comes after; it’s creating a mood, a rhythm. It’s not that one element is more important than the other; it’s more democratic. The construction of a character won’t stop me from having the right tone and rhythm. I’m not that interested in building

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CINEMA GUILD

ay Argentine Matías Piñeiro is one of the most exciting film directors and writers to emerge out of the South American nation in the past decade. His films are intimate romances that involve repetition and role-playing as affairs of the heart play out against a literary backdrop. His latest film, “The Princess of France,” may be his best. A charming love story, the film has Victor (Julián Larquier Tellarini), identified as “an actor,” perform a radio production of a play he and several female friends mounted a year before. As Victor reunites with Paula (Augustina Muñoz), his girlfriend, Natalia (Romina Paula), his ex-girlfriend, Ana (María Villar), his lover, and Lorena (Laura Paredes), a friend, audiences are thrown into a romantic roundelay, picking up threads from the various relationships as the film unfolds and circles back. Piñeiro frames his romance with an overture by Schumann and an epilogue from Shakespeare, and includes a discussion of Bougeureau’s painting and snippets from “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” The filmmaker spoke about making “The Princess of France” via Skype.

María Villar and Julián Larquier Tellarini in Matías Piñeiro’s “The Princess of France.”

THE PRINCESS OF FRANCE Directed by Matías Piñeiro In Spanish and Italian with English subtitles Cinema Guild Opens Jun. 26 Film Society of Lincoln Center 165 W. 65th St. filmlinc.com

characters in a more conventional way, with pasts and psychological profiles and dramatic arcs. I’m not attracted to that. So that helps me create equilibrium between plot and rhythm. They should not be contrasted but fused, like content and form. They should be mixed. GMK: One of the themes of your films is the element of repetition. Why do you rely so much on repetition? MP: Because I like ambiguity. Because it’s opening possibilities — there’s not one truth or path. The moment you deliver options, the world broadens, and that includes [the chance for] the spectator to choose or contradict. The narrative gets dense. They can be talking about love and it is not superficial. It includes the spectator. There is no unique way of seeing things. In “Princess of France,” the repetition of the same scene is a montage that produces an eeriness which unsettles the force of what we are watching. I like including doubt in film. Film and photography are very concrete. So it becomes natural to question this by thinking how doubt and ambiguity can be introduced to

GMK: Another theme is the idea of fragmentation. You seem to tease out scenes and meanings, leaving them open to interpretation. You also throw viewers into a scenario, letting them work out the relationships and the characters at their own pace. Can you explain your strategy here? MP: I move fast [dropping viewers into the film] because people have seen other films where characters who are sisters and brothers or lovers have been introduced, and I don’t need to do that again. It’s a challenge to figure out the relationships between the characters, but it’s nice to be invited to a challenge. It’s not that I’m not paying attention to it; I just find other ways to provide the information. I don’t have to introduce them. Let’s move forward and people will catch up. Viewers are not stupid. It’s a chore for me to be condescending or create a dialogue on that expository, didactic level. I hate that when I watch a film, or when a film has clichés and irony. I treat my spectators as I want to be treated myself. We’ve seen so many things in the media. I don’t think I have to be bureaucratic. Entertainment is subjective. I don’t want to be dull. GMK: You are openly gay. Do you ever plan to make a film about a gay man? MP: In one sense… I will do it. And I will keep making films. Everything is not put in one film. How do you move away from a cliché or something expected? Can you queer the heterosexual part, like having strong female roles? I don’t want to fall into a category of making gay films, but queer characters can have a space in the films I do. It just hasn’t happened yet. I have been more interested in not trying to make something for marketing. I don’t like that, so that has kept me away from that. But that shouldn’t make me rigid in not including, but more how you include it. I have to find a way of how to include them without being part of a market or exploiting the topic. I don’t feel I can do that yet. I have to find the way of doing it that I would like. GMK: Your films are often about love, longing, affairs, and kissing, kissing, kissing. What’s with all the kissing montages in your films!? Are you an incurable romantic? MP: I think it’s something I like. It can be photographed easily and in a realistic way. If they had sex — and they wouldn’t have real sex — it’s boring to see them doing it “as if.” So filming sex is harder for me, and it has to be comfortable. I don’t want them to get naked if they don’t want to, but I will include it when it’s comfortable and it flows. The intimacy is confirmed with a kiss. Of course I like sex, but kissing is very economical in the narrative; it is passionate without being overdone. June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

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THEATER

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Big Too Small in “Doctor Faustus”

Get Back to the 60s and 70s!

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Chris Noth and Zach Grenier in the Classic Stage Company’s production of Marlowe’s “Dr. Faustus,” directed by Andrei Belgrader.

Gloria Gaynor & Maxine Nightingale 7/11 • 9 pm

Chris Noth, overbroad comedy ill-suited to classic story of compromised showman

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s this the play that launch’d moder n theater? Classic Stage Company provides a very interesting essay on that subject by artistic director Brian Kulick (at goo.gl/13rKeP). Would that they had provided a worthy production of Christopher Mar lowe’s seminal “Doctor Faustus,” about an actual showman around whom a myth grew that he must have made a deal with Satan, so real were his magical shows that “resurrected” historical figures. No such illusion is sustained at CSC. Chris Noth — iconic as Mr. Big on “Sex and the City” and Detective Mike Logan on “Law and Order” and with creditable stage work under his belt — comes across on this stage as too small to box with God and the Devil, his mostly too soft voice occasionally punctuated with yelling instead of the resonant delivery that might best serve the verse. This new adaptation by David Bridel and Andrei Belgrader and directed by Belgrader emphasizes the humor in the play from Zach Grenier’s playfully sinister Mephistopheles to the ensemble’s burlesque-like embodiments of the seven deadly sins. But most of it was so overbroad that it came

DOCTOR FAUSTUS Classic Stage Company 136 E. 13th St. Through Jul. 12 Tue.-Thu. at 7 p.m. Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat.- Sun. at 3 p.m. $66 - $126; classicstage.org Or 212-677-4210, ext. 10 Two hrs., 10 mins., with intermission

across as bad children’s theater — abruptly interrupted by a supersexy Helen of Troy late in the game. It alternately brought to mind everything from “Sesame Street” to “The Three Stooges” to “Saturday Night Live,” and not in a good way. This adaptation might have worked with the lead played by Donald Trump or an actor portraying Trump — an unbelievably arrogant clown who has become incredibly successful through numerous deals with devils. Classic Stage has been one of my favorite houses in New York, but they are developing a disturbing penchant for productions built around miscast celebrities. Here’s hoping they will return to their founding principles and stop making deals with the devils of pure commerce. June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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81 Christopher St. in New York, (212) 242–5737, stjohnsnyc.org In the heart of the West Village, St John’s Lutheran Church and Rev. Mark E. Erson, Pastor, openly accepts same-sex couples.

ENTERTAINMENT

Amazing Bottle Dancers (800) 716-0556 bottledancers.com It’s hard to overstate the incredible reaction The Amazing Bottle Dancers evoke when they appear at nontraditional weddings. The guests are completely charmed and blown away by our surprise appearance! They never see it coming!

Bay Ridge Skin & Cancer Dermatology

9921 Fourth Ave. in Brooklyn (718) 833–2793, bayridgederm.com Put your best face forward with the help of David Biro, who was voted one of “New York Magazine’s” best doctors. The medical office offers Botox, microdermabrasion, and laser hair removal.

Emergency Medical Care 200 Chambers St. in New York, (212) 962–6600, emcny.com Emergency Medical Care is a gayfriendly healthcare practice and an efficient and compassionate urgent care concept. It is a healthcare practice dedicated to better, timely medicine.

GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

HONEYMOON DESTINATIONS

Sand Castle on ohe Beach 127 Smithfield, Frederiksted St. Croix, Virgin Islands 340.772.1205 sandcastleonthebeach.com Our quaint, beach side boutique hotel is designed to meet your personal vacation style. We maintain a sense of intimacy and freedom in this seaside oasis. It’s our home and we invite you to relax and unwind in this comfortable and tranquil setting.

Villa Amor Camino a Playa los Muertos, Sayulita Bahia de Banderas Nayarit, Mexico (619) 819-5407 hotelvillaamorsayulita.com. “Sweeping ocean vistas and a sexy room concept do away with outside walls and invite you to see Sayulita through a rustling fringe of palm fronds.”Travel+Leisure.

JEWELRY

Anna Sheffield 47 Orchard Stl, New York (212) 925-7010, annasheffield.com Anna Sheffield Jewelry offers a timeless alternative to the traditional world of Ceremonial and Fine jewelry with an extensive collection of finely crafted baubles. Our elegant array of rings includes signature styles of mixed precious metals, inverted-set diamonds and solid gold gemstones.

Party Planners and Expos Bosco’s Wedding Planning Expo (914) 337-3826, boscoweddings.org Before you walk down the aisle, walk down ours; Bosco’s Wedding Planning Expo is the place to find your best bet wedding contacts. Visit our website for an Expo near you.

PARTY RENTAL

Classic Party Rentals 336 W. 37th St. in New York (212) 752–7661 newyork.classicpartyrentals.com At Classic Party Rentals, exceptional customer service is its hallmark. It offers a network of party specialists that can provide everything you need anywhere you need it.

REAL ESTATE SERVICES Accurate Building Inspectors

1860 Bath Ave. in Brooklyn (718) 265–8191, accuratebuilding.com Accurate Building Inspectors is a full-service home and building inspection firm servicing the tri-state area since 1961.

Kikco Property Management PO Box 408, Sayville, NY (631) 597-7018, nlaf@aol.com Rental properties, venues for parties and honeymoon packages.

RECEPTION SITES & CATERERS

Andaz Wall Street 75 Wall Street, New York (212) 699-1636, andaz.com Sophisticated urban gay weddings have access to over 14,000 sq. ft. of unique indoor and outdoor spaces right in the heart Wall Street.

The Andrew

the townhouses of East 64th Street. For your wedding reception, the venue’s dazzling, gold-domed Arabelle restaurant provides one of the most unique settings in Manhattan with its blend of murano glass and brass chandeliers, chiffon colored walls and murals of Asian pagodas.

75 North Station Plaza, Great Neck (914) 482-2900, andrewhotel.com Leave the details in accommodating your friends and family the the professionals at The Andrew, Great Neck’s Boutique Hotel, where chic sophistication meets the timeless essence of Long Island’s Gold Coast.

Russo’s on the Bay

Brooklyn Museum

Shakespeare on the Hudson

162-45 Cross Bay Boulevard, Howard Beach, NY, (718) 843-5055 russosonthebay.com Exemplary service and exquisite cuisine combined with professional attention to detail was the best way to achieve customer satisfaction.

200 Eastern Pkwy. in Brooklyn (718) 638–5000, brooklynmuseum.org The Brooklyn Museum is an extraordinary venue located in the heart of Prospect Heights. It has one-of-akind backdrops for private events.

216 Route 385, Catskill, NY (518) 947-1104, stewarthouse.com This remarkable event space now features three beautifully romantic cabins ideal for both large groups and private weekends.

Carlyle Catering

Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel

Various locations in New York (516) 501-9700, carlylecatering.com Whether you desire timeless elegance ON THE GREEN, the regal splendor OF LAWRENCE, deco glamour at The Palace, retro nostalgia at The Omni, or a personalized catering style Off The Green, Carlyle has something for everyone.

Columbia’s Faculty House 64 Morningside Dr. in New York (212) 854–1200 facultyhouse.columbia.edu A smart and stylish choice for your unique New York City wedding, the prized University landmark has classic, flexible spaces with a surprising, modern twist.

The Edison Ballroom 240 West 47th Street, New York (212) 201–7650, edisonballroom.com With its award-winning executive chef and personalized service, the Edison Ballroom continues to provide the perfect environment for all occasions in an elegant private event space in the heart of Times Square, New York.

Grand Oaks Country Club 200 Huguenot Ave. in Staten Island (718) 356–2771, grandoaksnyc.com Formerly the South Shore Country Club, this new and improved Staten Island venue can provide the perfect. elegant backdrop for your reception with prime dates still available.

Houston Hall 222 W. Houston St. New York (212) 582 2057, houstonhallny.com A massive space on West Houston Street has plenty of room to create the event of your dream...or a rowdy Beer Hall wedding. Eternal love, beer and a complimentary minister!

Plaza Athenee 37 East 64th Street at Madison Ave, New York, , (212) 644–0202 plaza-athenee.com Le Trianon, our ceremony space is elegantly appointed in natural earth tones with ten windows overlooking

370 Canal St. in New York (212) 966–3400, sheratontribeca.com Let the Sheraton Tribeca help you celebrate your same-sex wedding. The sleek, modern hotel works with various New York City wedding venues in the area.

Tio Pepe 168 W. Fourth St. in New York (212) 242–9338, tiopepenyc.com At Tio Pepe you have a choice of atmosphere. The skylight dining room supplies a touch of romance while the enclosed sidewalk cafe provides a room with a view of Greenwich Village.

The Vanderbilt at South Beach 300 Father Capodanno Blvd. in Staten Island, (718) 447–0800 vanderbiltsouthbeach.com Boasting both a luxurious banquet hall, as well as magnificent outdoor oceanfront space.

Whyte Hall 577 Fire Island Boulevard, Fire Island Pines (631) 597=6060, manager@fippoa.org Sequestered but easy to reach, this dramatic is located in one of your favorite locations. Experience the magic of Fire Island at its finest.

Yacht Owners Association 101 W. 23rd St., New York (212) 736–1010, yachtsny.com Yacht Owners Association has over two decades of experience planning events at sea, and the largest number of yachts in the tri-state area. The Yacht Owners Association can accommodate weddings anywhere from 2 to 600 guests.

TRAVEL

Ace World Travel 8320 13th Ave. in Brooklyn (347) 915–4287, aceworldtravel.net This full-service and certified romance travel agency specializes in destination weddings and honeymoons. It can also create custom-built itineraries.

Alger House

45 Downing Street, New York (212) 627–8838, algerhouse.com Alger House is a great venue for smaller weddings and corporate events (30 to 106 guests). The very private reception hall has high ceilings, custom lighting, and nearby transportation.

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FILM

Rare New York Bounty of Asian Film Lincoln Center, School of Visual Arts host 16 days of hard-to-find offerings

SUBWAY CINEMA

“City on Fire,” screening June 27, is one of two Ringo Lam films being revived.

BY STEVE ERICKSON

A picture is worth a thousand words… Let’s tell your story!

Brian Gorman, photographer

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www.themelstar.com 84

I

n the early ‘90s, there were two Chinatown theaters that offered double bills of the latest films from Hong Kong. While one had to put up with their lax enforcement of smoking regulations, I have fond memories of seeing John Woo’s “Hard Boiled” and Wong Kar -wai’s “Ashes of Time” there, months or even years before they made it north of Houston Street. After these theaters went under, Chinatown was a haven for DVD imports for a while, but now those days are gone as well. However, distributors like Well Go and China Lion still release new Asian films in New York, but they seem to have little idea how to market them, typically dumping them in the AMC Empire 25 for a weeklong run. Unless you closely follow the roster of 20 films that generally open each week in New York, the New York Asian Film Festival may be your last chance to see some of Asia’s best cinema, even the portion with US distribution. This year’s festival is loaded with sidebars. Most tantalizing is the opportunity to see several films by Japanese cult director Kinji Fukasaku on the big screen, as part of the dual tribute to actors Ken Taka-

14TH NEW YORK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL Jun. 26-Jul. 11 Film Society of Lincoln Center (through Jul. 8) 165 W. 65th St. $14; $11 for students & seniors at filmlinc.com School of Visual Arts (from Jul. 9) 333 W. 23rd St. $14 at subwaycinema.com, which also has complete festival information

kura and Bunta Sugawara, both of whom passed away last November. There are special sections devoted to new films from Japan and Taiwan, and South Korean female directors and producers get their due. Two films by Hong Kong director Ringo Lam are being revived, including the classic “City on Fire” (June 27, 8:30 p.m.) from which Quentin Tarantino lifted much of the narrative of “Reservoir Dogs.” As always, it’s hard to do justice to such a festival based on the small fraction of its films I saw.

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SUBWAY CINEMA

Jin Mo-Young’s “My Love, Don’t Cross That River,” screening June 28, was a huge hit in South Korea.

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In its native South Korea, “My Love, Don’t Cross That River” (June 28, 9:15 p.m.) was a huge hit. That’s not surprising; despite being an independently made documentary, it’s no more challenging than a Ron Howard film. Director Jin Mo-Young tells the story of an elderly couple — the man is 98, the woman 89 — who have been married for more than 70 years. In fact, they met as teenagers and have been devoted to each other since. They’re so passionate that they declare their love for each other every 30 seconds, putting dandelions in their hair and playing in the snow. If this were a fictional story, I could picture Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda making something fresh from it. Jin gives in all too easily to sentimentality. I’m glad that this couple have maintained their love over such a long stretch, but their ways of expressing it are more than a little saccharine. The film threatens to show a little edge when the man becomes terminally ill, but then it just becomes faintly exploitative: there’s nothing particularly edifying about seeing a sick old man have a coughing fit. The trajectory of “My Love, Don’t Cross That River” ensures that it’s moving, but in a better film the tears wouldn’t be an automatic product of the subject matter. GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

Korean director Hong Seokjae’s “Socialphobia” (July 4, 4:15 p.m.) bears some resemblance to the excellent American horror film “Unfriended,” which was released earlier this year. Both films deal with cyberbullying and attempt to find creative ways to represent computer text cinematically, although “Unfriended” manages it better. In the wake of a soldier’s death, a female Internet troll named Min runs wild on Twitter, insulting him left and right. When four male students decide to pay her a visit and exact some kind of revenge, they meet up with Mr. Babble, the host of a popular online show, and his friends at an Internet café. But when they get to Min’s apartment, they discover that she has apparently hung herself. Several of the kids believe she was really murdered and launch an investigation. Despite the hip trappings, “Socialphobia” is a boys’ adventure story at heart, particularly in its middle third. The story is full of the twists and turns that usually come with mysteries, but it ends by rejecting such gimmicks as explanations. Like “Unfriended,” it’s concerned with the Internet’s potential to unleash hatred by enabling bullies to stalk their victims anonymously or carry out other forms of mischief, but this theme is really

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ASIAN FILM FEST, continued on p.110

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HAPPY PRIDE NEW YORK CITY!

Proudly empowering Christians to work for LGBTQ Justice

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www.etf1928.org

Episcopalians who value diversity and inclusiveness value the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. This liturgy speaks to us all in words that are beautiful, ancient, and true.

Ask your parish priest to use it this Sunday.

ONEDiocese ONEMission

The Episcopal Diocese of Long Island wishes you a

Happy Pride 2015!

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ROOTED & GROUNDED IN LOVE. EPHESIANS 3.17

firm in faith united in Christ

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GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

87


FILM

The Winehouses We’ll Never Know Late singer’s music vivid, her possibilities tragically suggested BY STEVE ERICKSON

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o anyone who’d been following British singer Amy Winehouse’s life and career, her 2011 death from alcohol poisoning at age 27 didn’t come as a surprise. Her last few years seemed like one long downward spiral, culminating in an infamous Belgrade appearance where she was too drunk to sing. Asif Kapadia’s documentary “Amy” doesn’t offer a wealth of new information to Winehouse fans, but it fills in certain blanks. For instance, it reveals that she struggled with bulimia, as well as substance abuse, and that her eating disorder also contributed to her death. The VH1 show “Behind the Music” has established a formula for depicting celebrities: early struggle, success, addiction (or some other tragedy), death or comeback. “Amy” doesn’t subvert this so much as cleanse the tabloid sheen from it. The images of Winehouse and husband Blake Fielder doing crack and heroin aren’t nearly as shocking as the blinding light of the flashbulbs that greet them every time they open their front door. When complimented on her voice, Winehouse accepts the praise but says that she would take her talent back in order to be able to live a normal life. As in his 2010 documentary “Senna,” Kapadia shows a desire to break out of the interview/ archival footage formula followed by too many non-fiction films. Like “Senna,” “Amy” was made after its subject’s death, but the filmmaker had access to a wealth of home movies, interview clips, and performance videos. It helps that Winehouse’s life was well-documented — for example, we get to see her audition for Island Records and hear her sing “Moon River” at age 16 — even if that didn’t do her any good in the long run.

Amy Winehouse in a 2007 photo.

AMY Directed by Asif Kapadia A24 Opens Jul. 3 Landmark Sunshine Cinema 143 E. Houston St. Btwn. First & Second Aves. landmarktheatres.com AMC Lincoln Square 1998 Broadway at W. 68th St. amctheatres.com

“Amy” disconnects sound and image. Rarely do we see a person speaking in real time, although the film often shows pictures or films of an interview subject from an earlier period as he or she talks. This creates a distancing effect, especially when certain people, like Winehouse’s drug counselor and doctor, are heard but never shown. One effect it has on the film is making her music much more vivid. “Amy” includes plenty of performance footage, often altered by running lyrics on-screen, and the buoyancy of Winehouse’s music, despite its dark corners, keeps the film from being utterly depressing.

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK... IT’S A HELLUVA TOWN! y e l t n a r B n e B

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JACOB J. GOLDBERG PHOTO

Jude Sandy and Jimmy King in Michael Perlman’s “At the Table.”

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WARRIORS, from p.70

Trinidad who gets stuck sleeping on the couch. Finally there’s Nate (Aaron Rossini), a young, stay-at-home dad whose parents own the country house. Fueled by wine, it doesn’t take long for their ragged egos to start bumping up against one another. Agitator Stuart suggests that abortion may be inhumane, which naturally enrages Chris, a director for a women’s organization. She believes that, as a man, he has no right to

have an opinion about a woman’s right to choose. “The terms of a conversation are controlled by who is invited to the table,” she says curtly. “And you’re not invited to that particular table.” Later, Elliot contemplates whether Chris has the right to be at his table. Why should straights have a say about whether a gay man can marry another man? As the title suggests, the drama wonders exactly who deserves to be invited to any figurative table. It challenges assumptions we

make of strangers based on their appearance, and considers whether the labels we slap on one another — black, white, gay, straight, rich, poor — are more harmful than helpful. “At the Table,” presented by the Fault Line Theatre company, is at it’s best when injecting levity to offset the profundity. In perhaps the funniest scene, Nicholas bets Nate and Stuart $200 each that he can guess what they were thinking when Chris mentioned, somewhat unexpectedly, that she had a boyfriend. The stakes are raised even higher when Chris gets in on the action. Act II finds the group has evolved. It’s one year later, and one member has vanished. The newcomers are Leif (Ben Mehl), a cute bi guy whose eternal optimism borders on annoying, and Sophie (Stacey Yen), who has an Asian background and is afraid of offending anyone. This wildly ambitious endeavor should collapse under the weight of so many needy personalities and heady ideas. And there are shaky moments — exits and entrances are not as fluid as they could be. But thanks to pitchperfect dialogue, thoughtful direction, and mostly solid performances, it holds up. Staged in the round at the intimate Mainstage theater at HERE Arts Center, the action is intensified. It almost feels like you could pull up a chair and claim your own place at that clamorous table.

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This document was developed under grant CFDA 93,778 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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In one of the play’s more poignant moments, the lonely, increasingly desperate Jordan leaves voicemails to his too-busy friends. “You guys all have guys,” he laments. “And I mean I'm almost 29 years old and no one has ever told me they love me.” Plays just a couple of years ago might have featured gay men dreaming of a day when marriage for them is legal. Here, samesex marriage is a given. Instead, Jordan simply dreams of a day when he might meet the man of his dreams and get married. Like Jordan himself, “Significant Other” has a bipolar quality, with mood swings hitting hilarious highs and, without war ning, devastating lows. The comic drama contemplates what to do when you discover you’re not living your best life and the horror that you may never achieve it. The proceedings are permeated with the fear of living alone and dying alone. There’s even talk of suicide. One of Jordan’s diatribes — where he berates Laura for not

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AMY, from p.88

Winehouse’s debut album, “Frank,” borrowed from jazz. Her follow-up, “Back To Black,” drew from Motown, Phil Spector, and girl groups. What kept her music from becoming a total nostalgia act — the post-punk/ hip-hop band Sleaford Mods posthumously dissed her as “Samey Winehouse” — was the personal nature of her lyrics. This came across most strongly on the song that made her a star, “Rehab,” which simultaneously expresses a desire to stop drinking and a refusal to get treatment for her alcoholism. In retrospect, Winehouse was commodifying her addiction, but she couldn’t have foreseen that “Back To Black” would wind up selling 10 million copies worldwide. “Rehab” is a great song; it also led down the road to Jay Leno making cracks about her doing meth and heroin, as if she weren’t a vulnerable woman struggling with a serious problem. Winehouse seems to have bottomed out during her marriage to Fielder, who introduced her to hard drugs (alcohol had been a problem GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

inviting him to be a bridesmaid (don’t ask) — was so caustic and drawn-out it was of f-putting. Cutting the rant in half might actually strengthen its impact. Despite authentic, refreshing characterizations, the drama doesn’t completely sidestep cliché. Jordan and Laura fantasize that if they can’t snag Mr. Right, then they will simply marry each other and have kids (cue turkey baster joke). Directed with precision by the everreliable Trip Cullman, “Significant Other” inventively makes use of flashbacks and fantasy vignettes, nimbly shifting from one scene to the next. Or, as a stage direction in the script puts it: “The scenes of this play should bleed into each other. Because love bleeds. Ugh.” Following the June 27, 2 p.m. matinee performance, Brian Silva, executive director of the grassroots group Marriage Equality USA, and Laurie Davis, CEO of eFlirt Expert, which helps singles navigate the intersection of romance and technology to attract an ideal match, will lead a panel discussion about the evolution of dating and marriage.

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1529-ARTparenting-GAYcity-ADfr.indd 1 6/19/15 for her since she was a teenagAIDS isn’t over, and we need er). “Amy” debunks the myth that your help to End the Epidemic addiction fuels creativity; Winehouse never managed to record in New York by 2020. a follow-up to “Back to Black,” despite several failed attempts. She saw getting it together enough to record a song with her hero, Tony Annually, Iris House serves 6,000 Bennett, as a major triumph. In women, LGBT youth and families the last few years of her life, she affected by HIV/AIDS with housing, gave up drugs but she continued to drink heavily. She re-connected meals, testing, prevention and with old friends, and she planned other critical support services. new projects, like putting together a group with rapper Yasiin Bey and Roots drummer ?uestlove. Are you doing your part to help? Unfortunately, Winehouse lost her battle with the bottle. KapaIris House needs advocates, donors and friends dia would have to be a completely willing to be counted, willing to march with us incompetent filmmaker not to make something moving of Winehouse’s and ready to serve on our board. life story; his biggest strength is not jerking tears but showing how many opportunities there were for Call us today and help us save lives! her life to turn in another direction. “Amy” has been criticized as inaccurate or unfair by some of the www.irishouse.org (646) 548-0100 x222 people depicted in it, particularly Winehouse’s father Mitch, yet it’s less interested in settling old scores or casting blame than in wondering what might have been.

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rom “Young Frankenstein”: “Penny for your thoughts... Oh... Where you going?... Oh, you men are all alike. Seven or eight quick ones and then you’re out with the boys to boast and brag. YOU BETTER KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. Oh... I think I love him!” This brief but brilliant monologue, written by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks, is the pithiest and wittiest encapsulation of not only an entire relationship but the entire, eternal male-female battle since time began. And, as delivered by Madeline Kahn, it is the perfect crystallization of her sublimely unique and mercurial talent, breathtakingly encompassing, in about 30 seconds, post-coital sensuality, bewilderment, intense hurt, and fury — and then sudden romantic awareness.

researched and perceptively written, with the added bonus of Madison’s considerable musical savvy (he was my editor for a time, at Opera News), we get a full-scale portrait of a highly gifted, highly complex woman, whose genius often came at a high price for her, both emotionally and intellectually. In a business which favors the bottom line and the attendant unimaginative type-casting, Kahn may, unfortunately, have been too intelligent for her own good, and felt the insensitivity of others keenly, often being frustrated by the limits of what she was allowed to do and even completely excised from high-profile projects she had given her all to (like Woody Allen’s “Shadows and Fog”). It is, therefore, something of a miracle that so much of her eternally effervescent work survives on film and recordings, and this will continue to inspire generations of performers and fans to come.

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William V. Madison’s impressive bio captures an elusive, brilliant, complex talent This film remains the only one to literally make me fall out of my seat with laughter, but we all have our favorite Madeline moments: Ryan O’Neal’s hysterically snippy fiancée Eunice in “What’s Up Doc?”; her touching, funny Trixie Delight in “Paper Moon”; her ultimate Dietrich spoof in “Blazing Saddles” (“It’s twue! IT’S TWUE!”); absolutely killing it, singing “Find Me a Primitive Man” in “At Long Last Love”; Empress Nympho in “History of the World, Part 1,” going down the line of her stud stable of slaves, assessing their endowment (“Yes, yes, no, yes, no, no”), and many more. Probably no one has more of them than William V. Madison, who has written her biography, “Madeline Kahn: Being the Music, A Life” from the University Press of Mississippi. It’s a labor of real love and a stunning achievement to rank alongside Tad Mosel’s “Katharine Cornell,” Brooke Hayward’s “Haywire,” Simon Callow’s “Charles Laughton,” and the very few other really terrific theatrical bios. Exhaustively

I asked Madison what made him want to write about her and he said, “She’s a beloved performer — people really want to connect with her, even beyond what she gave onstage and onscreen. And she and I have similar tastes and have worked in related fields. My background writing about opera persuaded her family that I could tell her story. I first saw Madeline in ‘From the Mixedup Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler’ (1973), in which she has a very funny cameo as a harried schoolteacher. It’s likely that I saw her in ‘Harvey’ the same year, onstage with Jimmy Stewart and Helen Hayes. But the first time she really registered was ‘Young Frankenstein’ in 1974. That was the first grown-up movie I was allowed to see by myself, at a late-night screening. “ The book took seven years to write: “I began by visiting Madeline’s brother, Jeffrey, at his home in Virginia. He’s the unofficial archivist, keeping all of Madeline’s

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MICHAEL AZIZ

KAHN, from p.92

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scrapbooks and recordings and videos of just about all her work. You asked about her journals, which I quote from: there’s only one! That’s how meticulous she was, keeping the same notebook for 20 years. Jeffrey inherited it, and I discovered something really touching. After 20 years of recording her occasional feelings and observations, Madeline handed the notebook to her niece, Eliza, who was a little girl at the time, probably visiting her aunt in New York City. The final pages are given over to Eliza’s drawings, including an especially cheerful and welcoming Statue of Liberty. “Jef is a terrific, kind, and remarkably laid-back guy who adored his sister. He gave me free rein to ask anything of anybody as I went about my work. He felt strongly that the overall merit of Madeline’s work and the fundamental goodness of her character would outweigh unpleasant lapses and flaws, so that he had no problem with my discussing some of the less than positive aspects of Madeline’s life. He never interfered at all with my work, and that’s almost unheard-of among heirs working with biographers.” Like many another formidable diva — Streisand, Bette Davis, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland and, of course, Liza — a formidable mother figured in Kahn’s life, and Madison said, “I also spoke with Paula Kahn, Madeline and Jef’s mother, who was in a nearby nursing home. She actually flirted with me when I met her, about four years before she died. Her memory was bad, she said, and she couldn’t answer my questions — except to tell me she thought I was handsome. Basically, she was doing what she could to make sure I treated her favorably in the book. “Paula was just 18 when she had Madeline, and she harbored ambitions to be a star herself. But she didn’t have the discipline her daughter did, and to complicate Madeline’s life further, Paula was manipulative, mentally erratic, and she spent extravagantly. Madeline worked constantly, in large part because she had to support Paula. But Paula was Madeline’s first voice teacher, and she gave her the talent and skills to succeed and to build the legacy we still enjoy today. If not for Paula, Madeline might have

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pursued her own dream — which was to teach, not to perform.” As to the reasons for Kahn’s complexity, Madison said, “She was indelibly marked by abandonment, by her father, her mother, and her stepfather in succession, while she was still a child. Between marriages, her mother shipped her off to boarding school, beginning when Madeline was five years old. She was terribly lonely there. Her fathers both left at a time when she felt ugly, which made her even more anxious about her appearance than most other actors are. The lesson she learned early was that people will leave, and she tried to resist that by making herself irreproachable. She was refined, impeccably dressed, using flawless spelling and punctuation even in her appointment books — nothing at all like the character she played in ‘Blazing Saddles.’” It’s hard out there for a diva, especially when it comes to finding the right partner, and I wanted to know if Kahn ever achieved real personal happiness in a relationship: “A lot depends on how one defines true love! But Madeline found strength and sustenance in her relationship with her first boyfriend, Michael Karm, who was her

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A Forgotten Masterful Gay Auteur BY DAVID NOH

F

or all you lovers of movie musicals, imagine “Meet Me in St. Louis” without the ebullient “ Trolley Song” number, or “Summer Stock,” without Judy Garland’s iconic “Get Happy” celebration. What about “Easter Parade” without the raffishly amusing “We’re a Couple of Swells,” “Gigi” without the effervescent “The Night They Invented Champagne,” or no Garland campily swanning as a high diva of cinema in “Ziegfeld Follies of 1946?” None of these indelible moments would have been possible without one man, Charles Walters, who often received no onscreen credit for his contributions. The allure of the great musicals of MGM’s golden era remains ever-potent, and the creators of these classics — directors Vincente Minnelli, Stanley Donen, and Gene Kelly, and producer Arthur Freed — are always celebrated. But Walters remains an elusive, largely forgotten figure. Born in Pasadena in 1911, he was first a successful Broadway hoofer, with bigger aspirations, who returned to California to become an integral part of the revolution in musicals that was happening at MGM in the 1940s, eventually directing triumphs like “Good News,” “Easter Parade,” “Lili,” “Billy Rose’s Jumbo,” and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” Writer Brent Phillips was struck when he recognized the lack of basic information about this hugely talented man, and he has righted things with his book “Charles Walters: The Director Who Made Hollywood Dance.” Exhaustively researched as so many movie books are, it is still a true rarity among them — beautifully written, with a canny mixture of knowing affection and clever analysis, which effortlessly sweeps you back in time to the most heady days of Culver City. “This was a total labor of love and a joy to research,” Phillips told me. “I knew that if I didn’t write it, it might not ever get written, and what a loss not to have this career in some way encapsulated so that

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people would know who he was and what he did.” Obsessed with MGM musicals from the age of 12, he recalled, “My mother had a reissued ‘Easter Parade’ soundtrack album which merely described Walters as a dancer turned director. I kept seeing mentions of his name on something random like ‘Please Don’t Eat the Daisies,’ or the choreography for ‘Meet Me in St. Louis,’ so I wanted to somehow put all of this together and really show his career arc. He went from being a very successful Broadway performer to becoming a choreographer and dance director, and finally an Academy Award-nominated director. “Eight years ago, when I began this, I was surprised that I couldn’t find more about him. He died in 1982 before anybody could write his story, an only child with a longtime relationship with a much younger man whom he adopt-

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June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

BY

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COURTESY OF BRENT PHILLIPS

ed, and then he died. So basically Chuck Walters’ story disappeared, and he was not good about promoting himself for many reasons. He loved the work more than anything, and didn’t need the fame, although the money was important.” A book like this is always a race against time, Phillips explained: “June Allyson, the star of ‘Good News,’ died within the week I decided to really research this, and I thought, ‘Oh boy!’ I tried several times to interview Esther Williams, but she’d had a stroke or some problem with her health. She did send one message through a friend: ‘Just let him know that Charles Walters was my all-time favor ite director.’ Leslie Caron could not have been more gracious, and Debbie Reynolds was wonderful, tactful, and everything you could imagine her to be. And then, to find behind-the-scenes people, I often had to rely on archival interviews, because I figured if, say, Tony Martin talked about him10 years ago, that’s good because he would have remembered things. So it was important to gather all these stories. “I do have a day job [film archivist for NYU’s library], and this meant lots of trips to Los Angeles in my spare time. At USC, librarian Ned Comstock is the gold standard, every writer’s dream. As a fellow archivist, he makes us all look bad, steering me to Walters’ papers and also those of his producers — Arthur Freed, Joe Pasternak, and music arranger Roger Edens. He would even come across something in, say, Variety, and would photocopy and send it to me. He’s unparalleled in the world of archiving.” I asked Phillips if he had an a-ha! or “Rosebud” moment of discovery about Walters’ life and he said, “I don’t think he had one enemy, lasting so long at MGM from 1942 to 1964, just hard-working and talented, and I was surprised by how much money he brought into the studio, one of the most fiscally profitable directors of them all. The fact that he’s not better remembered is odd. I was also struck by how much he did not get credit for — like working for two weeks cleaning up ‘Gigi,’ which won an Oscar for Vincente Minnelli — the ultimate company man with no ego.”

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The fully integrated musical as we know it today was being pioneered on both coasts in the early ‘40s, by Rogers & Hammerstein on Broadway and by Walters, working with the famous Freed unit at MGM. “As a choreographer on ‘Meet Me in St. Louis,’ it was all about continuity, bringing the story along and developing the characters and their relationships, and it all had to be done intelligently by someone like him — how to segue into a number,

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how it was going to be constructed so people remain in character, and how to dovetail out of it and back into the storyline. “When Walters got an assignment, the first thing he asked for was the script, and at first they said ‘What do you need you that for, you’re the choreographer?’ He wanted to know what had happened in the scene before, and where the story was going to create the number. Another dance director would have made a very different movie than ‘Meet Me in St. Louis,’ as we know it, and, of course, he was in conversation with Minnelli

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OPERA

Season’s Finale Verdi, Sondheim, Grétry, Honegger around town BY DAVID SHENGOLD BRIAN HATTON

M

y last Met show this season was Verdi’s “Un ballo in maschera,” very well conducted by veteran James Levine two days after he did an equally impressive “Rake’s Progress.” Perhaps these days it’s best to skip the opening night of a Levine revival; things seem to gel much more by the second show. The “Ballo” utilized David Alden’s visually ambitious and partially successful production; its good qualities — willingness to pose large questions about the characters, arrestingly era-jumping sets and costumes — get muted by some perversely undergraduate-level ideas. Would Gustavo really be prompted to reward a naval officer he witnesses drunkenly whoring? Must the two not very distinguished basses, in roles once sung by international stars, comport themselves like hammy caricatures of cartoon evil?

Angess Nyama and Clayton Brown in Manhattan School of Music’s production of “A Little Night Music.”

Piotr Beczala, who had been ill, tended toward steady mezzo-forte dynamics, but brought genuine charisma to the role, and it’s always a pleasure to hear his beautiful, stylishly used (if not exactly italianate) tenor. Sondra Radvanovsky’s unique sound divides opinion: despite some scooped attacks, much of what she did here was thrilling — vocally generous, dynamically varied, and technically adept in places, like the killer Act Two trio, where few Amelias living or dead could equal her. That said, one always wants more specific and cleanly articulated verbal phrasing. Without it, the character remains generalized,

impressive rather than touching. Alexei Markov, singing his first Met Renato, sang handsomely, with real Verdian sound until he forced it at climaxes. With more restraint and more incisive words, he could play a major swathe in this repertory. Dolora Zajick (Ulrica) displayed remarkable endurance and clarity at register extremes; her middle voice has lost in impact, though not in steadiness. She deserved the crowd’s accolades. Heidi Stober, if lacking the precision in staccati of a Roberta Peters or Gail

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Robinson, was far less annoying dramatically than many Oscars. To me, hers is a rather anonymous timbre, and she too has a comparatively weak middle voice, so that she didn’t dominate ensembles where necessary. In sum, quite a strong cast, very well-mustered by Levine, made for a fun evening in this colossally tuneful score.

When Manhattan School of Music announced “A Little Night Music,” I w a s r a t h e r dubious — Sondheim’s marvelous work demands absolute dexterity, and Hugh Wheeler’s Ingmar Bergman-based book is a pseudoelegant confection requiring great professionalism to paper over its lapses — like the witless joke at the expense of Ibsen’s “The Wild Duck,” which one can safely guess few, onstage or off May 13 have ever seen or read. Yet the evening proved quite delightful. Carolyn Marlow’s fluid direction avoided many pitfalls, and the design team, especially Shawn Kaufman (sets) and Summer Lee Jack (costumes), evoked a handsome world. Shane Schag led a well-cast, musically cogent per formance that proved very enjoyable except for one thing — sound design that from the first bars distorted voices and balance. Granted, Broadway today is way overamplified; but shouldn’t good conservatory vocalists in a smaller hall be learning really to sing unmiked? In all other ways, the show was well timed to celebrate the news that MSM is establishing New York’s first-ever degree program in musical theater. All four romantic principals offered well-sung and compelling portraits. Agness Nyama’s Désiree was lovely to see and hear. She brought off “Send in the Clowns” very satisfyingly, though I think the post-Catherine ZetaJones default choice to cry through the wistful song’s last verse is a mistake. Baritone Clayton Brown really understands musical theater style — though youthful, he suggested Egerman middle-aged effectively. Nickolas Miller, though not the textbook basketball height Carl-Magnuses have been since Laurence Guittard originated the part, was duly handsome and arrogant, singing with some depth. GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

Addie Hamilton’s delightfully acid Charlotte was as much a bullseye as her appealing Pamina on the same stage mere weeks before. She’s clearly a performer of range and vocal gifts. Catherine Malfitano, an MSM grad, faculty member, and a star presence, sang with commendable clarity as Mme. Armfeldt. Dialogue was “homespun grandiose,” often slightly mistimed; she evoked Ann Miller playing Phoebe Tyler Wallingford. I never enjoy Anne and Henrik — since Hugh Wheeler’s book treats their pre-sexual juvenility with such utter contempt — but Samantha Williams and Luke Sikora embodied these ungrateful parts well. Viktoria Falcone sold “The Miller’s Son” with gusto and fine tone color, and Julia Suriano seemed ideal as Fredrika.

Ryan Brown’s Washingtonbased Opera Lafayette has become a welcome regular visitor to New York’s operatic scene. The troupe consistently illuminates neglected riches of the French baroque and classical canon. André Grétry’s four-hander-plus-chorus “L’épreuve villageoise” (1784) plumbs no depths — it was, in fact, the distillation of the comic parts of a longer, more serious work — but offered dialogue in Alexandrine verse in an intriguing Cajun setting, and proved pretty delightful to hear in Nick Olcott’s clever staging. May 27’s performance at Florence Gould Hall somewhat had the air of a final rehearsal, with some dropped lines and — due to humidity? — sagging string pitch, but the overall impression was strong. Two ideally cast francophone artists rather eclipsed — linguistically — mettlesome American soprano Talise Trevigne (Madame Hubert) and — vocally — Spanish tenor Francisco Fernández-Rueda (André). Thomas Dolié’s fine agility and legato served the elegant music of Monsieur de la France, and the baritone excels at playing pompous, sheep-headed comic foils. Canadian soprano Pascale Beaudin sang, danced, and acted the simple but savvy village maiden Denise with aplomb and sparkle — a real discovery, seeming a Patricia Petibon without the twee mannerisms. The company’s sense

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attn. all PHAGS: NYC HEALTH DEPARTMENT FEEDS THE EPIDEMIC IT PROMISED TO END

WHAT HAPPENED?

Three months ago the de Blasio administration blew a hole in its efforts to prevent HIV and sexually transmitted infections. Without warning the City shuttered the Chelsea STD Clinic for 2 to 3 years of renovations. The Chelsea Clinic, the City’s busiest, was the site of 20,000 sexual health visits a year.

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KAHN, from p.93

co-star in ‘Two by Two’ and also her acting coach, helping her with her roles in ‘Paper Moon’ and ‘Young Frankenstein,’ among others. Her relationship with her last boyfriend, John Hansbury — whom she married — was her longest lasting, and I’m really not sure what she’d have done without him during her final illness.” Kahn died of ovarian cancer in 1999 at age 57.

was such a high profile project created for her, but the demands of the Cy Coleman score, among other considerations, proved too much for her, and soon her understudy, Judy Kaye, took over, triumphed in it, and became a star. I saw Kahn in it and remember being disappointed by how wan she seemed in the flamboyant part. Her talent, although exquisite, may have been more on the miniaturist side, its finely wrought details more suited to the intimacy of film. She could

Chelsea is the epicenter of the City’s HIV and STD epidemics. The Chelsea Clinic has been a place of care for high-risk, vulnerable New Yorkers from across the City, often young, poor, immigrant, gay, bi, transgender, gender non-conforming and of color. The City’s initial replacement plan: Put up a sign directing people to a clinic 70 blocks away.

WHAT’S GOING ON NOW?

THE CITY BLEW IT!

Local elected officials promised to find funding for a cost-effective, pre-fabricated unit on the Clinic site that would replace lost services for a large number of New Yorkers. Too embarrassed to admit its blunders, the City’s Department of Health put public relations ahead of public health and chose to apply its band-aids instead.

ACT UP DOES NOT ACCEPT THE STATUS QUO! ACT UP DEMANDS THAT THE CITY:

Speed up the renovation process so it’s completed ahead of schedule. n Provide all possible support to neighborhood clinics and community organizations for expanded testing and prevention services. n Appoint a community board right away to oversee the restoration process. n Collect data that tell us how many people have been lost to testing and adjust the plan to engage them. n Put a pre-fabricated unit on the Clinic site to replace lost services for many New Yorkers. n

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20TH CENTURY FOX

Under community pressure the City has applied one bandaid after another to its self-inflicted wound. Nothing has yet stopped the bleeding: n The amount of local testing has plummeted. People seeking testing have disappeared. n The City has redeployed a mobile testing van to the area. It sometimes goes missing. When it shows up, it tests few. n A lone staff person at the site is often poorly informed and handouts can be out of date. n Three local clinics might one day add testing capacity. Right now, referrals to these over-worked facilities are rare.

Madeline Kahn in Mel Brooks’ 1974 hit “Young Frankenstein.”

The list of Madison’s 120 interviewees is impressive: “Cybill Shepherd turned out to be one of Madeline’s fiercest advocates — something Madeline would find astonishing, because she really didn’t feel they’d made a connection during the filming of [the legendary musical debacle] ‘At Long Last Love.’ When we spoke about that movie, [co-star] Eileen Brennan suddenly exclaimed, ‘God, I love music! Music means more than anything in the world to me! Even more than dogs! Even more than cats!’ I say this with respect and affection: late in life Eileen was kind of a crazy cat lady, and she seemed to know that and to exult in it. “Mel Brooks concluded one of our interviews by saying, ‘Kid, I want you to do me a favor. Don’t make this a long, boring book!’ I promised him to write that on a piece of paper and to tack it over my desk.” Kahn is on many theatergoers’ minds these days because of the revival of “On the Twentieth Century” starring Kristin Chenoweth (so big a fan of Kahn’s that her dog is named Madeline), which was perhaps Kahn’s professional nadir. It

be highly variable onstage and was also disappointing in the revival of “Born Yesterday,” but, years later, at a Rodgers & Hart tribute at Symphony Space, she completely stole the show with a side-splitting rendition of “Zip.” Of her voice, Madison said, “She was a lyric soprano with solid musicianship and a bright, flexible instrument. There are dozens of soubrette roles she could have and should have sung. Beyond that, opinions vary among her friends as to how powerful her voice was and what her potential was. Maurice Peress, her conductor for ‘Candide’ and ‘La Bohème’, believes she could have had a career like Callas; others seem to think she’d have been ill-advised to stray far beyond operetta and Mozart. But her friend Robert Klein [with whom she had a brief dalliance] probably summed it up best: Madeline’s singing ‘was not living room bullshit.’” What was Madison’s ultimate takeaway, after devoting seven years to writing this life?: “Many people seem smaller, the more one studies them. Madeline Kahn

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June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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KAHN, from p.100

wasn’t one of those people. I’ve learned a lot about her, and while I hope I haven’t developed a proprietary, projected, overly personal attitude toward her, I do still like her tremendously. When she was at her lowest ebb, during the run of ‘On the Twentieth Century,’ she was in many ways at her most admirable. The experience might have broken another woman — certainly the universe seemed to be trying to break Madeline. But in her persistence, she showed real courage.

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OPERA, from p.99

of ensemble as stylists, which extends to movement as well as musicianship, always pleases.

On June 11, the New York Philharmonic mounted Côme de Bellescize’s concerted and partially successful semi-staging of Arthur Honegger’s quirky oratorio “Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher,” a celebration of the French national heroine

GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

“Her true legacy is her body of work. She often complained of typecasting, beginning when she was still in college, and I know she’d like to have left us more serious, dramatic performances, or more delicate work, like her final film, Eric Mendelsohn’s ‘Judy Berlin’. But she left us several movies — and TV appearances, too — that endure because they make us laugh in ways that are by turns subtle and outrageous, silly and smart, always surprising and inimitably her own. “Only occasionally do I run into people in their 20s who don’t recognize her name or her face.

‘What’s Up, Doc?’, the Brooks movies, and ‘Clue’ are still popular even among school kids. When I started the project, I was astonished by the love people feel for Madeline. Even on the Internet, the trolls — if there are any — are affectionate and full of praise. And her fans are truly ardent. Many times, in conversation with strangers, when I’d mention that I was writing Madeline’s biography, people would get so excited, they’d practically levitate.” Madison recently did a Kahn panel and book-signing at the Drama Bookshop: “Everyone who

agreed to participate in the panel discussion showed up, and we had an overflow audience on the sales floor upstairs and in the theater downstairs. People really want to share their stories about Madeline, and the response was tremendous. Now I look at pictures from that evening — with Robert Klein, Martin Charnin, Lee Roy Reams, Jonathan Lynn, and so many others — and I have no idea how this happened. The best moment, though, was when Joan Copeland, who just turned 93, sang her solo from ‘Two by Two,’ note- and word-perfect, just for me and my friend Penny.”

that also critiqued the country’s political ethos before World War II. Honegger’s work lurches among modes and repeats key sections, so the narrative disconnects were not all de Bellescize’s fault. The strongest elements visually were by Thomas Costerg (lighting) and Colombe Lauriot Prevost (costumes). New Yorkers, loving movie stars, cheered Marion Cotillard’s Joan to the echo. Her simple presence was

inspiring and she spoke with musical feeling and point, but I wanted a bit more tonal and dynamic variety. Two Comédie-Française actors took part: Eric Genovese, a warm, beatific Dominique, and the hammier, if skilled, Christian Gonon, in multiple narrative and episodic tasks. The five vocal soloists were good, though bass Steven Humes needed coaching in French. Outstanding among them were the properly contrasted sopranos, the wonderfully

soaring Erin Morley (Virgin Mary) and earthier Simone Osborne as one of Joan’s angelic voices. Whether due to sound design or committed conductor Alan Gilbert miscalculating, the actors and singers sometimes receded behind the huge orchestra and fine multiple choruses. David Shengold (shengold@ yahoo.com) writes about opera for many venues.

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IN THE BAND, from p.76

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That’s also why “The Boys in the Band” is not “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” with an all-male cast. Albee is about the maintenance of illusion. Crowley is about overthrowing it. But to find out what was really cooking in the New York Times’ kitchen — and in the the world the paper served — one must look back further than Kauffmann’s assault to December 17, 1963, when it ran a front page story titled “Growth of Overt Homosexuality in City Provokes Widespread Concern.” Written by one Robert Doty, it described gay life in New York in the wake of a series of raids on Third Avenue bars with gay clientele. Playing the all-too familiar Freudian saw, Doty wrote, “The old idea, assiduously propagated by homosexuals, that homo-

KINO LORBER

back to the resolutely heterosexual August Strindberg, whose “Miss Julie” involves a comparable power play, though the couple is otherwise quite different. The real target of Roth’s diatribe is Albee’s previous play, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” which charts the long, dark, drink-laden night of the soul of two couples in Academia. George and Martha have Nick and Honey over for drinks following a faculty party and emesh them in a round of private games in which all the participants get to “read” one another with savage glee. Disclosing quite a bit about interpersonal relationships — particularly the thin line between love and hate — “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” both entertained and terrified, striking fear into the hearts of those heterosexuals who realized a gay man named Edward Albee had their number. For them this could not stand, and so the play was denounced as a “masquerade” in which two gay couples were disguised as straight ones. This was for a while taken as so much an article of faith that requests were made that the play be done with an all-male cast. Albee of course refused to allow this. And for anyone with an ounce of sense who has actually seen or read the play with any degree of attention, an allmale “Virginia Woolf” would make no sense at all. As for Tennessee Williams, what his friend Gore Vidal called the “ritual attacks” on his sexuality — made for his daring to create authentic, complex, and deeply felt female characters — are well known. His efforts at dealing with gay sexuality most directly in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “Suddenly Last Summer” were either muffled by directorial interference (for all his theatrical savvy, Elia Kazan was clueless when it came to gay men) or charges of “sensationalism.” Less “sensational” Williams works like “Something Cloudy, Something Clear” never made it to Broadway. Likewise with William Inge. whose “Picnic,” “Bus Stop,” and “Come Back Little Sheba” provided great roles for actresses but whose “gay plays — “Where’s Daddy?” and “The Last Pad” — were given short shrift or, in the case of the unproduced “The Boy in the Basement,” none at all. These were the odds Crowley

faced — and prevailed against. The original production of “The Boys in the Band” ran for more than 1,000 performances Off-Broadway. And the film preserves its integrity, unprecedentedly keeping the original cast in the roles they created, even though none of them was a major star. The film’s release in 1970 came two years after the premiere of the play, but more importantly one year after the Stonewall riots changed everything. Would any of the boys in “The Boys” have figured in Stonewall? One can easily see Emory fighting the cops. Stereotypically effeminate, he is also the most morally resolute of the bunch. He refuses to be anyone other than who he is, and he’s markedly compassionate toward

Robert La Tourneaux and Cliff Gorman in “Boys in the Band.”

Bernard, who collapses in sadness in the wake of the “Truth Game” that Michael forces everyone to play, having them make a phone call to the one person they love to tell them so. Hank and Larry call each other — a point Vito Russo emphasized in his writing about “The Boys” in “The Celluloid Closet.” Their honesty about their relationship — indeed the fact that they had a relationship, not just sex with each other — was quite important. Stonewall wasn’t their scene. In fact, in the film Hank and Larry are found at Julius’. That would have been Harold’s watering hole, too. Likewise “Donald.” But Cowboy would have been a familiar face at Stonewall (the bar not the riot ), as well as Bernard and even Alan, if he is indeed the closet queen he appears to be. But these characters, vivid as they are do not constitute “homosexuality.” Crowley presents a slice of gay life — not the whole cake.

sexuality is an inborn incurable disease, has been exploded by modern psychiatry in the opinion of many experts… [Psychiatrists] have what they consider to be overwhelming evidence that homosexuals are created — generally by ill-advised parents — and not born.” Doty went on to warn, “Some experts believe the number of homosexuals in the city is increasingly rapidly… and they have tended to become more overt, less concerned with concealing heir deviant conduct.” Yikes! It’s a wonder that Albee, Inge, and Williams had enough cojones to go shopping at the local grocery store much less write any sort of play. Mattachine Society member Randolph Wicker showed Doty around “the gay world” and gave him accurate information — all of which was resolutely ignored. But when Stonewall arrived, the truth Doty decried

was impossible to ignore and “The Boys in the Band” in its own modest way shone a light on it. Crowley well knew what it was like to be born in what Michael refers to as “Hot Coffee Mississippi” and, on discovering oneself possessed of what used to be called “strange twilight urges,” to make plans to head for the Emerald City and create a new life for oneself with the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, and the Cowardly Lion. Yes “The Boys in the Band” relates in many ways to the great gay ur-text “The Wizard of Oz,” though Dorothy often has more to fear from her friends that the Wicked Witch of the West. Crowley put it best: “All the negative things in the play are represented by Michael, and because he’s the leading character, it was his message that a very square American pubic wanted to receive.” And that they did. But a very unsquare gay public saw something more. For all the backbiting, there’s also love. And that’s another reason why the play was a hit. Edward Albee knew it would be a hit. But he had no intention of following Crowley’s example, feeling obviously that “a gay play” would chew up the ground he’d so carefully worked to claim. And the truth of the matter is that while Crowley has written other plays of note, like the memory play about his parents, “A Breeze From the Gulf,” and his further set-to with Catholicism “For Reasons That Remain Unclear,” “The Boys in the Band” remains his signal achievement. In 2002, Crowley wrote a sequel. Cleverly entitled “The Men From the Boys,” it centers on not a birthday party but a wake. Larry has died of AIDS. So by this time had Keith Prentice, who created him, Leonard Frey, the unforgettable Harold, Kenneth Nelson (Michael), and Robert La Tourneaux (“Cowboy”). The straight Cliff Gorman died of leukemia in 2002. He and his wife took care of La Tourneaux when HIV overtook him, and saw him through to his death. “The Men From the Boys” ends with Harold disclosing that he too has seroconverted. But like the first play, its sequel’s last line is, “I’ll call you tomorrow.’ Someone ought to be called tomorrow to stage these works together in repertory. It’s the nicest way imaginable of saying to a very “real person” named Mart Crowley, “Thank you and fuck you.” June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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COURTESY OF THE JOHN FRICKE COLLECTION

Charles Walters with Judy Garland and Gene Kelly, circa 1949.

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WALTERS, from p.97

on everything.” My favorite Walters anecdote struck me like a thunderbolt when I read it in a published interview when I was about 12; Phillips said he had the same reaction at around the same age. In Walters’ account, during the underrated Judy Garland vehicle “Summer Stock,” after she sang the song, “Friendly Star,” “Judy looked up with those giant liquid eyes of hers, and it was the most fantastic shot in the world. ‘Cut,’ I yelled, ‘will someone hand me a towel, I’ve just cum!’ Now that might be thought indelicate, but Judy loved that sort of foolishness. ‘C’mon what’s next?,’ she’d ask.” That silly yet telling little tale revealed so much to my young, formative mind, as my nascent gaydar blaringly went off. How very gay that remark somehow seemed to me, and how comfortable he must have been with both his star and in the confines of a big, homophobic corporation like MGM to be able to make that remark in front of his entire crew. Phillips added, “Yes, and the fact he did that because he knew Judy would love it. She was that type of performer — big stars are still thrilled by that kind of gay chorus boy humor — and the same kind of jokes are made now. “As a gay man, it’s important

not to forget Walters’ heritage. Everybody wasn’t just a hairdresser or scenic designer. Although now forgotten, Chuck was a top-tier director, like the quarterback everybody had to be behind, and the fact that he had such respect in an industry that was so homophobic and knew how far he could go and continue to work is impressive. “I think his staying out of the spotlight had something to do with this. It was the 1950s, in the midst of McCarthyism, and a tabloid magazine like Confidential could end your career if you didn’t know how to stay off the radar. Thankfully, one of his partners, Jimie Mor rissey, is still alive, and he told me that although you needed to show up at a Hollywood opening with a girl like, say, Chuck’s regular date, Debbie Reynolds, he also brought along his boyfriend, Jimie, who knew all the photographers. Chuck was also dating agent John Darrow, and there they would be with Louis B. Mayer, Freed, and all the upper studio echelon. No one talks about it, but Chuck didn’t kowtow to anyone saying, ‘You can’t do that.’ He stayed out of the spotlight and lived his life as openly as one could then, and he was so beloved, talented, and making so much money they allowed him to flourish.

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WALTERS, continued on p.106

June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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WALTERS, from p.104

“I was surprised doing research when I saw the census in New York for 1940 and it had John Dar row as head of household, with Charles Walters listed as partner, not ‘roommate,’ or any other euphemism. Where else does the word ‘partner’ come up, not roommate or any other euphemism. He and Judy were even rumored to be engaged to be married in a possible MGM arrangement, but Chuck said, ‘No, I’ve worked too long and hard to get here and I don’t want to be Mr. Judy Garland. Shortly thereafter, she married Vincente Minnelli. Chuck didn’t hide who he was.” Phillips’ favorite Walters film is probably “Lili,” a little film which even the studio didn’t believe in, that went on to become an international smash and win six Oscar nominations, including Walters’ only nod for Best Director: “It’s a very special film, and being an ex-dancer, I gravitate toward it because its story is told through dance. But I am always amazed whenever a Walters film comes on TV. Before I know it, it’s three-quarters through, it just goes flying by.” One of my favorite Walters movies is also a somewhat guilty pleasure: Joan Crawford’s big MGM comeback film of 1953, “Torch Song.” In some ways, it’s her “All About Eve,” in that she plays a temperamental star who wreaks havoc with everyone around her. Walters took on this almost B-level film with a weak script and a decidedly unmusical star playing a Broadway musical goddess as a special favor to both the studio and to Crawford, a personal friend, and invested it with juicy details culled from her actual life. There are the multi-layered curtains she uses to black out the light in her bedroom, which Crawford really had in her home, as well as a party she throws in which the only invited guests are men, to avoid any female competition. Walters appears in the film as a chorus boy who trips over Crawford’s extended leg during a rehearsal, and when she’s asked to move it, she has the immortal camp riposte, “What, and spoil that line?” (Carol Burnett hilariously reprised this moment in her side-splitting TV takeoff, “Torchy Song.”) During the filming of this sequence, anoth-

er great line came from a Crawford pal and former co-star, the flamboyantly gay William Haines, who was on the set and observed, “Only God or a good-looking man could get your legs up that high.” Crawford developed a deep, misguided crush on her handsome director, plying him with lavish gifts and inviting him to her home for drinks. On one such occasion, she was fully glammed up but wearing a housecoat, which she opened to reveal her naked 48-year-old body. Phillips said, “Chuck’s personal shooting scripts are at USC, and he would decorate them with candid photos with funny annotations which show his gay wit. The ‘Torch Song’ one is a work of art, with shots of everyone talking in mid-sentence, but Joan always knew where the photographer was and would be posing perfectly, and the caption would read ‘Another offthe-cuff moment with Joan Crawford.’ The very last photograph at the very back of the script sums up the whole ‘Torch Song’ experience. It’s of her poodle, Cliquot, resting his head on an electrical outlet, like a pillow, that reads, ‘Property of MGM.’” Although Walters was a complete workaholic, having to deal with immense studio pressures, Phillips believes he was a happy man. “His films show this; they’re all optimistic. He may have had bitter memories about certain people, but overall he was a happy person. He loved going to Palm Springs, where gay men were able to let their hair down, and gay and straight, stars and non-stars, all played together. [Gossip columnist] Hedda Hopper was notorious during the witch hunts of the 1950s, but she liked Walters and was a guest at his Malibu beach house. I am thankful for her writing so much about him in her column, and she was one of his biggest supporters. “Another big journalist, Mike Connelly, was gay, I’m almost positive, and he mentioned being at a Joe Pasternak dinner where Chuck got up and did an imitation of Judy singing ‘Zing Went the Strings of My Heart’ — phenomenal, because she had just started doing it in her live act in 1958 and Chuck had to have given her the choreography. It was kind of a dishy thing that Connelly wrote that, but I’m glad he did.” June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


GayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

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PRIDE PLAYS, from p.73

and Brandon Uranowitz are excellent. There are limited singles in the side and rear orchestra, and sides of the rear mezzanine available. Some premium seats are available through brokers and resellers. (gaycitynews.nyc/flying-high-2)

Something Rotten JOAN MARCUS

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JOAN MARCUS

Richard Rodgers Theatre 226 W. 46th St. This is one of the rarest of all birds — the completely original musical. The story of a couple of would-be producers in the Renaissance trying to mount a hit and compete with rock star Shakespeare, is beyond hilarious. Witty, fun, and with memorable performances by Brian d’Arcy James, Christian Borle, Brad Oscar, and John Cariani, and directed and choreographed brilliantly by Casey Nicholaw, this is inspired silliness from beginning to end. There are some singles in the orchestra and front mezzanine, with good availability in the rear mezzanine and balcony. Premium seats are available at the box office, and through

Christian Borle as Shakespeare, with the cast of “Something Rotten!”

Alex Sharp in “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”

resellers and brokers. (gaycitynews.nyc/ thank-heaven-two-three)

It Shoulda Been You

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time Ethel Barrymore Theatre 243 W. 47th St. This is really two stories in one — the adventures of a young, autistic boy trying to solve a mystery about a murdered dog, and his subsequent adventures trying to find his mother in London. Exciting staging and a

killer performance by Tony-winner Alex Sharp make this engrossing, heartfelt, and visually dazzling theater. Stick around for the end after the curtain call for the coda — it’s worth it. There are some seats in the side orchestra and side mezzanine. Premium seats in the orchestra and front mezzanine are available at the box office and through resellers and brokers. Discounts are often available at TodayTix and at TKTS. (gaycitynews.nyc/ inside-play-inside-mind)

Brooks Atkinson Theatre 256 W. 47th St. This charming one-acter makes no bones about being froth entertainment, and as such it’s engaging. Predictable for sure and somewhere between a classic farce and a sitcom, but with performances by Tyne Daly, Harriet Harris, and Lisa Howard, this is undemanding fun. Some orches-

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PRIDE PLAYS, continued on p.109

June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


WeddingPride WeddingPride JOAN MARCUS

Tyne Daly and Harriet Harris in “It Shoulda Been You.”

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PRIDE PLAYS, from p.108

tra and front mezzanine tickets are available. Premium seats at the box office and discounts for virtually all performances at TodayTix and TKTS. (gaycitynews.nyc/ thank-heaven-two-three)

The Twentieth-Century Way

Queen of the Night Diamond Horseshoe at the Paramount Hotel 235 W. 46th St. If dinner theater and a circus got together, this would be it. The show is charming and sexually charged and unfolds right on top of you — sometimes literally. The dinner is outstanding, and the entire experience is unlike anything else you’ll find on stage right now. Running about three hours, it’s a great celebratory event. DifGayCityNews.nyc | June 25 - July 08, 2015

BRITANNIE BOND

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater 224 Waverly Pl., btwn. W. 11th & Perry Sts. The most interesting gaythemed play Off-Broadway right now. Setting aside some labored dramaturgy, the story of two men who in worked for police departments entrapping and arresting gay men is based on a true story. Fine performances by Will Bradley and Robert Mammana as the two men — and a host of other characters — bring the story alive in a sometimes harrowing, sometimes touching way. Good availability for all performances through ovationtix.com. (gaycitynews.nyc/ playing-cops-queers)

Robert Mammana and Will Bradley in “The Twentieth-Century Way.”

ferent packages range from $150 to $450 and are available through queenofthenightnyc.com. (gaycitynews.nyc/ dishes-served-hot-cold) A list like this can never be comprehensive. I haven’t mentioned long runs like “Kinky Boots,” “Wicked,” “Les Misérables,” “Matilda,” or “Phantom” that have big tourist appeal and are occasionally on TKTS and even more often at TodayTix. “The Book of Mor mon” tickets are still hard to get, though premium seats are available during Pride Weekend. I also didn’t mention “Wolf Hall,” which is sensational, but requires a big commitment of time — two separate performances. Discounts are available. Whatever you choose, I hope it adds to your celebration. Covering these shows over the past year has certainly been memorable for me.

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ASIAN FILM FEST, from p.85

only expressed at the beginning and end. Still, Mr. Babble’s appearances at those two points in the story are chilling. Unlike the usual exercises in technophobia, “Socialphobia” seems to have been written and directed by people who know how social media work.

Malaysian director Namewee’s “Banglasia” (July 10, 8 p.m.) has been banned in his home country,

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which should spark interest at the New York Asian Film Festival. After seeing the film, I’m perplexed why this well-intentioned antiracist statement ticked off the Malaysian gover nment. To be sure, its politics are expressed in a style closer to the Farrelly brothers than Stanley Kramer. It starts off with a Bangladeshi worker (Nirab Hossain) discovering that his fiancée is being forced by her family to marry another man. He has two days to travel back to Bangladesh

SUBWAY CINEMA

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Hong Seok-jae’s “Socialphobia,” which screens on July 4, tackles cyberbullying.

Namewee’s “Banglasia,” screening July 10, addresses race relations in Malaysia.

and resolve the situation, but his passport is being kept by his boss. Meanwhile, a racist wearing a “Save Malaysia” vest and T-shirt (played by the director, who’s also a rapper) holds sparsely attended soapbox rants about the evils of Bangladeshi immigrants. The two men — in a surreal pairing derived from spaghetti Westerns — go on the run, with the Bangladeshi turning into “Dirty Harris.” “Banglasia” is witty, but also a bit wearying. The pacing is a non-stop

race for 90 minutes. Visually, it mixes a vivid, stylized sense of color with occasional switches to blackand-white. Unfortunately, Namewee’s sense of humor includes a few gay panic jokes. Although there’s a fair amount of violence, the film’s basically benign nature is never in doubt. Through the well-worn device of the buddy film, it shows a racist learning the error of his ways. If this is what threatens the Malaysian government, the country’s in real trouble.

June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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MILK, from p.38

he was not good with kids. I was 18 then. And he said, “You’re no Harvey.” I wasn’t a good speaker. I thought the comparisons were always there. Then when I got involved nationally, and then I do get some compliments. Anne Kronenberg was his campaign manager, when we talk within five or ten minutes, she’s calling me Harvey instead of Stuart. So if somebody, even people that don’t know me and know the story and they’ll get confused and they’ll say, “Harvey Milk?” To me, that’s like being a Kennedy and being called Robert Kennedy or John Kennedy. I have no problems with it. Coming out, having a famous uncle, in New York in the 1970s in high school, in middle school and high school, the cover of the New York Times would be “Avowed homosexual runs again.” Not gay activist, but avowed or admitted homosexual running again. Luckily I was big, so I didn’t get physically picked on. ML: The Harvey Milk Foundation is rather new, established in 2009. What was the process of creating it and why did it take so long? SM: Anne began the process of starting independently, without working with me at all, soon after my uncle was killed. And she’s not a good fundraiser; they were never successful. I had been doing, in my public and private sector work, a lot of global travel. The LGBT work made sense when I was traveling globally. At the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House, I’m alone with Tito Rivera and Desmond Tutu and Sandra Day O’Connor and Nancy Brinker, all these amazing people. Desmond Tutu turned to Cara Kennedy, who was accepting the award on behalf of her father, Ted, who was alive but too sick to come, and he complimented her on the work she does for the Robert Kennedy Foundation and the John F. Kennedy Foundation. Then he turned to me and says, “What do you do about your uncle’s legacy?” I said, “Well, I always speak at events, I’m openly gay.” And he says, “Oh yeah, I know all that.” He says, with these little spectacles, pointing his finger at me, “You have to do more, because he’s a martyr,

and martyrs make a difference all over the world, and he can free people not just in the US but his story can free people globally.” With a Nobel Peace Prize winner pointing his finger at us, Anne and I decided at that point that we would form the Milk Foundation and have a much more global focus. Tutu is on our advisory board, as is Nancy Brinker and Cara Kennedy before she died. ML: What were your thoughts when your uncle was put onto a US postage stamp? SM: It was the fruition of a lot of hard work. I thought again of his story being told and the impact of it. My uncle, I don’t think, would have ever cared about whether he was on a postage stamp or there would be a holiday or a children’s book. What he did care about was that people, in particular gay youth, were no longer forced to lie. That they didn’t have to go through what he went through as a young person, and that everyone that he knew that was gay had to go through. I think the postage stamp, he would feel good that it at least gives people hope, and it spreads hope, that little corner of an envelope, and hopefully people read the little bio of him that comes with the sheet of postage stamps. M L : You travel ar ound the country a lot in your role. What has struck you most in the United States, and globally? SM: The number one thing in the US for me is what marriage equality has done for visibility. It goes to the very heart of those who were always against the LGBT community, which is that LGBT aren’t family, they’re not God-fearing, and they’re not geared toward whatever it is to be a wholesome life. It really hits at the heart of the arguments against the LGBT community. It destroys all the myths and all the lies and all the innuendoes. Even people who are not fans of those in LGBT marriages are being invited to marriage ceremonies, and it’s a celebration, and they drink a couple glasses of champagne, and they say “Oh, what’s the big deal?” We still don’t have national protection from employment and

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FREEMASONS

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housing discrimination. But we will have at the end of this month gay marriage everywhere in the US, and it’s a game changer. The world, on the other hand, I think this is part of the struggle. You’ve got a neighboring country Russia, where for political expediency and for their own cheap political agenda they’re attacking LGBT people. Even Putin’s comment, “I have nothing against LGBT people. Leave the children alone” — that goes to the heart, it’s like Anita Bryant all over again. We’ve got a huge, massive population, 60 percent of the world east of Istanbul. It’s very dark there and not just for LGBT people, but for women, for people of a different religion, for people of a different ethnic background. And so, we have a lot of work globally to do, and it’s kind of like what I said in my speech at the Freedom Conference here in Riga for Europride, meeting [indigenous Australian artist, activist, and academic] Lila Watson in 1985 was really important for me to realize

that all of our liberation is bound together. We really are never free if there’s people suffering around the world. We’ve come more than two steps, we’ve come three steps ahead in the US, but we have places in the world where we’re going two steps backwards. ML: We’re here in Latvia where in the past, there have been attacks on the Pride Parade. Knowing what happened to your uncle, what do you say to activists who put their lives on the line in the struggle for equality? SM: I would say the same thing I said to the crowd two years ago, which is that you can throw eggs at me, you can send bullets to my uncle, you can stop the messenger. But the message of equality, LGBT inclusive equality, will never be stopped. And you can’t stop it by violence, you can’t stop it by eggs, you can’t stop it by bullets. We will move ahead. ML: What do you think of the progress in the United States on same-sex marriage and transgender issues with Caitlyn Jenner?

SM: It’s really interesting, the transgender issue. It doesn’t get talked about that much. So there are two sides to the transgender coin. So what we have found, we meaning [non-government organizations], but also me personally, around the world is that our female-tomale transgender community has usually a greater level of acceptance and inclusion than male-to-female. Which I think also points to the struggle of women still in society, and it’s seen as less. So for instance, our transgender community that is female-to-male, they usually have greater success in jobs, in society in general. And to me, that points to the fact that we still have to work as a community, as an LGBT community, to connect with the women’s movement and make sure we keep that connection open. ML: What kind of a world do you want your own nieces and nephews to live in? SM: I’ve got three. Two of them have taken part in Harvey Milk Foundation events. So they’re straight but they’re very, very comfortable around LGBT. They’re

very comfortable in their own skin. They’ll go to gay bars, they’ll go to gay events. They’ll hug and kiss people of the same sex. But my hope is that we get to a world where we do not allow any people to be diminished, either verbally or in reality or by societal values. It goes back to that Thomas Jefferson saying about what is the price of justice and equality. It’s vigilance. I believe that we have to remain vigilant. I don’t believe that there’s ever a day where you turn out the lights on the LGBT rights movement. We’re going to have gay kids coming up in some community, in some societal value that tells them to hide who they are because again, it’s a small percentage of, it’s a minority. We’re what, three or four percent of the population? So they’re going to have to struggle with role models even if we have 12 Ellen DeGenereses on TV. They still are going to struggle, because in their own circle, they’re going to struggle with relating. I think we’ve got to remember that the price of equality is vigilance, as Thomas Jefferson said, the price of equality and justice is vigilance.

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HAPPY PRIDE Heritage of Pride Presents New York City Pride Weekend

THU.JUN.25 DANCE Choreographing Escher, Bacon & Rothko In a world premiere of ZviDance’s newest work, “Escher/ Bacon/ Rothko,” set in three parts, is an evening-length dance piece inspired by the work of M.C. Escher, Francis Bacon, and Mark Rothko. Virtuosic in form and versatile in style, Zvi Gotheiner’s choreography pulsates with each artist’s startling notion of modernity. The cast includes Chelsea Ainsworth, Todd Allen, Alex Beigelson, Kuan Hui Chew, Alison Clancy, Derek Ege, Samantha Harvey, David Nosworthy, and Ying Ying Shiau. New York Live Arts,, 219 W. 19th St. Jun. 25-26, 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 27, 2 & 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25-$35; $28-$28 for students & seniors at newyorklivearts. org/event/zvi_dance_2015 or 212-924-0077.

With a vast array of events, Heritage of Pride, the official sponsors of the Pride Rally and the LGBT Pride March, will keep you busy from Friday evening ‘til the wee hours of Monday. The Pride Rally, a successor to a late July 1969 Gay Power demonstration in Washington Square Park, takes place Jun. 26, 7-9:30 p.m., at Hudson River Park, Pier 26, between Hubert & N. Moore Sts. in Tribeca (cross at Laight St.). The rally features speeches from community leaders and lots of entertainment, headlined by Ashanti. Fantasy is a burlesque masquerade fantasy at the Diamond Horseshoe, 235 W. 46th St. Jun. 26, 10 p.m.5 a.m. The event, where masquerade masks are suggested, features DJs Freemasons (UK) and Kitty Glitter (Sydney). Tickets are $50 at nycpride.org. The VIP Rooftop Party takes place Jun. 27, 2-10 p.m., Hudson Terrace, 621 W. 46th St. Tickets begin at $39 at nycpride.org. Teaze is an exclusive event for women at Hudson River Park, Pier 26, between Hubert & N. Moore Sts. in Tribeca (cross at Laight St.), Jun. 27, 3-10 p.m. Tickets are $29 at nycpride.org Harlem Pride 2015 Celebration Day is a free festival at Jackie Robinson Park, entrance at Bradhurst Ave. at W. 148th St. in Harlem. Jun. 27, noon-6 p.m. Details of other Harlem Pride events through Jun. 28 at harlempride.org. We Party is a circuit event produced by Masterbeat that draws up to 3,000 men from around the world. Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 W. 34th St. Jun 27, 10 p.m.-6 a.m. Tickets are $100 at weparty.nyc. The LGBT Pride March, an annual civil rights demon-

between the event’s organizers and grassroots groups such as ACT UP, Dykes on Bikes, and the Radical Faeries. The result was an un-permitted, rump march up Fifth Avenue from the Stonewall Inn to Central Park in an exuberant, uninhibited show of queer freedom. Bureau of General Services — Queer Division at the LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St., room 210. Opening reception is Jun. 26, 7-10 p.m. Exhibition runs through Sep. 6.

THEATER The * Stands For U The three-week F*ckfest performance festival at the Brick includes several offerings of particular interest to the queer community. Cross-Eyed Bear Productions presents “Six Silences in Three Movements” — written and directed by Duncan Pflaster, with original music performed live by Matt Applebaum — which looks at two couples, Sean and Joanne and Ricky and Matt, who are seemingly happy until Sean and Ricky begin a clandestine affair. Jun. 28, noon.; Jul. 2, 9 p.m. Opera on Tap gets sexy with scenes from “The Inner Circle,” a blunt new opera about the charismatic visionary Dr. Alfred Kinsey, by composer Daniel Felsenfeld and librettist Kate Gale. Jun. 26 & 29, 9 p.m.; Jun. 27, 1 p.m. 579 Metropolitan Ave. at Lorimer St., Williamsburg. Tickets are $18 at bricktheater.com.

Passion & Consent In David Rhodes’ new play “Consent,” which the playwright directs, Ron Sullivan is a former NFL player and award-winning architect, newly divorced from his high school sweetheart, who has a chance encounter with Kurt, a hot Yale law student, that pushes him to the edge of his sexual boundaries — or beyond. Passion transforms both men and ripples into the lives of Ron’s wife and his sister Emily, who questions the ethics and risks of sex games. The audience ultimately decides who is seducing whom in the murky realm of power plays. “Consent” stars Mark McCullough Thomas, Michael Goldstein, Catherine Curtin, and Ange-

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stration, steps off from 36th St. at Fifth Ave., at noon, Jun. 28, and proceeds downtown to the West Village. This year’s grand marshals are Derek Jacobi, Ian McKellen, J. Christopher Neal, and Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera. If the Supreme Court acts by Jun. 26, the event could be one massive celebration. Details at nycpride.org. PrideFest is a street festival that runs from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Jun. 28, on Hudson St., btwn. Abingdon Sq. and W. 14th St. More details at nycpride.org. Pride Weekend concludes with the Dance on the Pier, this year headlined by Ariana Grande. Jun. 28, 3-10 p.m., Hudson River Park, Pier 26, between Hubert & N. Moore Sts. in Tribeca (cross at Laight St.). General admission, currently shown as sold-old, begins at $50 at nycpride.org.

la Pierce. The Black Box Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, 111 W. 46th St. Through Jun. 27, 8 p.m.; Jun. 27, 4 p.m.; Jun. 28, 3 p.m. Tickets are $60 at consenttheplay.com or 212-352-3101.

FRI.JUN.26 GALLERY Disrupting Gender Norms in the 1990s “I-DEA, The Goddess Within” was an historic collaboration between the performance artist Hunter Reynolds, aka Patina du Prey, and documentary photographer Maxine Henryson. From 1993 to 2000, Henryson and Reynolds traveled to Berlin, Antwerp, Los Angeles, New York, and other cities creating guerrilla street performances and interventions. Spinning in a large white dress, Patina existed as a mythical dervish figure that deliberately disrupted gender norms. “I-DEA, The Goddess Within” challenged notions of queer identity, performance art, and the social landscape of the 1990s. In a new exhibition, the artists present photographs from New York’s 1994 Gay Pride celebrating the 25th anniversary of Stonewall as well as that year’s Gay Games here. The rerouting of that year’s Pride March to go past the United Nations on First Avenue led to division

MUSIC The Pansy Punks Are Back Pansy Division, a trailblazing queer rock /punk band that first emerged in San Francisco in 1991, bring their bold, brash, and witty songs back to New York for the first time in six years. Chris Freeman (bass, vocals), Jon Ginoli (rhythm guitar, vocals), Luis Illades (drums) and Joel Reader (lead guitar, vocals) will be joined on the bill by the goth dance band Bottoms and power pop group Youthquake. The Bowery Electric, 327 Bowery at Bond St. Jun. 26, 7:30 p.m. Tickets ate $15 boweryelectric.com or 212-2880228. You must be at least 21.

COMEDY Belly Laughs for Pride “QueerCom” is an LGBT comedy festival coinciding with Pride Weekend in Manhattan. It will include three days of improv, stand-up, sketch, drag, storytelling, solo shows, musical acts, screenings, panels, and full-length musicals. Highlights include Sirius XM’s Frank DeCaro screening the premiere of his web series, “Spooners”; the parody musical “Steel Petunias”; “The Token Straight Show,” which riffs on Katie Haller’s monthly “The Token Guy Show,” where an all-female lineup features one guy to represent all men in comedy; and MTV’s Lucas Hazlett performing his solo show

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June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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“Lucas Hazlett Shows his Bits.” Peoples Improv Theater, 123 E. 24th St. Jun. 26-28. Tickets are $10 per performance, and a $40 festival pass is also available. For tickets and a complete rundown of offerings, visit thepit-nyc.com.

NIGHTLIFE Horse Meat Pride Levi Jackman Foster, Emerson Barth, Casey Kenyon, and Nicholas Colletti host a New York Pride Weekend Party, with music from Horse Meat Disco, House of Stank, DJ Spun, and Mystic Bill. Output/ Panther Room, 74 Wythe Ave. at N. 12th St. Jun. 26, 10 p.m. Admission is $30 at residentadvisor.net or ticketlfy.com; $40 at the door.

A Pride Matinée All Weekend For the fifth year, Matinée presents a jampacked schedule of parties celebrating LGBT Pride Weekend. The Matinée Main Party: Jungle kicks the weekend off at a state-of-the-art arena featuring DJs Boris and Lydia Sanz. Capitale, 130 Bowery at Grand St. Jun. 26, 10 p.m.-6 a.m. ($69-$89). On Jun. 27, 2- 10 p.m., Copa, 760 Eighth Ave. at W. 47th St., hosts Room Service and a Circuit Festival Rooftop Party, with DJs Tom Stephan and O'Halley Brothers, plus Jodie Harsh, Serving Ovahness, and Dawson. ($49-$69). March 8,179 Macdougal St. at W. 12th St., hosts Action AfterHours, with DJ Billy Lace alongside DJ Hannah, Jun. 28, 5 a.m.-1 p.m. ($39). The Matinée weekend concludes with a VIP Yacht Cruise, with sunset views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Brooklyn Bridge, and the sounds of DJs Tony Moran and Theresa. World Yacht Pier 81, W. 41st St. at 12th Ave. Jun. 28. Boat boards at 7:30, departs at 8, and returns at 11. ($69) For more information and to learn about weekend discounts, visit matineepride.com.

SAT.JUN.27 ACTIVISM Take the Street! Make Some Noise! The Dyke March is a protest — it is not a parade and it is not officially sanctioned with a police permit. The event is founded on the recognition that lesbians must organize among themselves to fight for their rights, safety, and visibility. Thousands of dykes take the streets each year in celebration of their beautiful and diverse lives, to highlight the presence of dykes in New York, and to protest the discrimination, harassment, and violence they too often face in schools, on the job,

and in their communities. Marchers meet at 4:30 p.m., Jun. 27 at the north end of Bryant Park, 42nd St. at Sixth Ave. The march steps off at 5 p.m. sharp from 42nd St. & Fifth Ave. and proceeds south to Washington Sq. Park. For more information, visit dykemarchnyc.org.

and transgressing stereotypes of gender, sexuality, race, class, and power relations. Artists Space Exhibitions, 38 Greene St., btwn. Grand & Broome Sts., third fl. Through Aug. 23; Wed.-Sun., noon-6 p.m. For more information, visit artistsspace.org

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Brad Gooch, author of the acclaimed biographies “City Poet” and “Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor” (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award), as well as other nonfiction and three novels, reads from “Smash Cut,” a searing memoir of life in New York City in the 1970s and ‘80s. David Crabb, a performer, writer, teacher, and storyteller, reads from “Bad Kid,” a funny, poignant story about a boy growing up gay (and goth) in San Antonio, at a time and in a place where it was hard to be one, and nearly impossible to be the other. Bureau of General Services — Queer Division at the LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St., room 210. Jun. 27, 7 p.m.

Roberto Araujo is an actor and photographer, who shows his B-Side with shots of Broadway performers and actors, including Alan Cumming, Callan Bergmann, Yurel Echezarreta, and Jakob Carr. His show, “MALEXPOSURE — B Side,” opens Jun. 30, 6-9 p.m., and runs through Jul. 7. G Lounge and Gallery, 225 W. 19th St. More information at RobertoAraujoPhotography.com or 212-929-1085.

TUE.JUN.30 The Dark Side of the Moon

Live Out Loud, which works to empower LGBTQ youth to build a successful future by connecting them to positive role models and affirmative experiences with adult members of the community, holds its annual Pride in the Hamptons fundraiser. The evening includes cocktails, d’oeuvres, dinner, and dancing at the waterfront home of Bruce T. Sloane, 21 North Bay Lane, East Hampton. Jun. 27, 6 p.m. for cocktails and silent auction; 8:30 p.m. for dinner and dancing. Tickets are $250 for the cocktail portion of the evening; $425, including dinner at liveoutloud.info.

GALLERY #QueerArtInterface “Interface: Queer Artist Forming Community Through Social Media” is an eclectic mix of queer, New York-based artists, working in a wide variety of styles and mediums, who use social media to create a community to exhibit their work. Just as early ‘80s artists would display their work on rotting piers, abandoned furniture, tenement bathroom walls, and subway billboards, the current generation circulates its creativity among a potentially infinite virtual audience that can instantly connect with the work, repost images, and blog about it. Walt Cessna curates the work of artists including Dietmar Busse, Isauro Cairo, Adrian Carroll, Ben Copperwheat, Jordan Eagles, Alesia Exum, Natasha Gornik, Joel Handorff, Leo Herrera, Erika Keck, Brian Kenny, Naruki Kukita, Brett Lindell, Slava Mogutin, Diego Montoya, Chuck Nitzberg, Maria Piñeres, Gio Black Peter, James Salaiz, George Towne, and Todd Yeager. Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster St., btwn. Canal & Grand Sts. Through Aug. 2; Tue.-Sun., noon-6 p.m., with an 8 p.m. closing on Thu.

Play and Learn With Tom of Finland Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen, aka Tom of Finland (1920-1991) is considered to be the most iconic gay artist of the 20th century. “Tom of Finland: The Pleasure of Play” — which includes more than 140 drawings, rarely seen gouaches from the 1940s, over 600 pages of collages, as well as his early childhood drawings — is the first exhibition to examine, analyze, and present the historic role that his art plays in addressing

SUN.JUN.28 NIGHTLIFE Dirty Dancing GayHotMovies.com, in association with CumUnion.com, CumHunt.com, BBRT.com, MaleAdultNetwork.com, and MilkChocolateNYC.com, hosts what it calls the dance party of the season, featuring porn stars Jimmy Durano and Christian Owen. Stage 48 Nightclub, 608 W. 48th St. Jun. 28, 8 p.m.-4 a.m. Tickets are $50; $75 for VIP at showclix.com/event/ SeXXXYMFNYC.

WED.JUL.1 BOOKS Writing With Sharp Edges Scott Alexander Hess’ “The Butcher’s Sons” is set in the gritty streets of Hell’s Kitchen circa 1930, while Mike Miksche’s “Paris Demands” takes place in the French capital’s glorious underbelly. The two authors face off in a lively interview session about their provocative books. It’ll be an evening of edgy conversations, live music, book giveaways, and of course French cheeses and Hell’s Kitchen (butchered) meats. Bureau of General Services — Queer Division at the LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St., room 210. Jul. 1, 7 p.m.

THU.JUL.9 BOOKS

MON.JUN.29 THEATER Performing Gender Cheryl King, director of Stage Left Studio and a longtime LGBTQ advocate, brings together a team of actors and activists for “Gender — A Performance Project,” featuring work written by King and Ashley Lauren Rogers, a trans woman, playwright, and actor. This 75-minute evening of sketches, monologues, and videos explores how our ideas about gender affect our lives. A gentle tongue-in-cheek attitude prevails throughout, in comedic bits about coming out, PGP’s (preferred gender pronouns), workplace and facility discrimination, identity, and the misconceptions regarding life as a transgender/

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gender non-binary individual. Stage Left Studio, 214 W. 30th St., sixth fl. Jun. 29, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20; $15 for students & seniors at goo.gl/ JkWNcv.

A Lambda Lit Reunion In an evening where fellows from the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Emerging Writers Retreat reunite, Charles Rice-González, co-founder of BAAD!, The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance whose debut novel is “Chulito,” Michael Montlack, author of the poetry collection “Cool Limbo and editor of the Lambda Finalist essay anthology “My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them,” Carol Rosenfeld, a writer and poet whose debut novel, “The One That Got Away,” is being published this month, and Ely Shipley, whose first book, “Boy with Flowers,” won the Thom Gunn Award, appear. Bureau of General Services — Queer Division at the LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St., room 210. Jul. 9, 7-9:30 p.m. June 25 - July 08, 2015 | GayCityNews.nyc


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So much to see. So much to do. So much to call our own. Mt. Van Hoevenberg, Mirror Lake, Lake Lake Placid Placid

Lucy Desi Museum, Jamestown*

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Boldt Castle, Alexandria Bay

Antiques Center, Cold Spring

Americana Vineyards, Interlaken

Empire State Building, New York City

Ellicottville Brewing Co., Ellicottville

Fire Island, Bay Shore

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel

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ew York is the most desired travel location in the world for the LGBT community. That’s because only New York State has so many unique places to visit and activities to enjoy — amazing arts, delicious food and drink, world class shopping, natural beauty, outdoor adventure, romance, relaxation and special LGBT events. And no place else has more history with the LGBT community or offers a warmer welcome. So whether as a single, a couple, a group of friends or even with the kids, you’ll love New York State more because there’s so much more to love.

Plan your New York State getaway at iloveny.com/lgbt SUMMER • 1 • 800/CALL-NYS and request a free NYS LGBT Travel Guide and bumper sticker. *Images of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz are licensed by Desilu, too, LLC. Licensing by Unforgettable Licensing.

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GAY CITY NEWS PRIDE 2015 — JUNE 25, 2015  

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