The Best Damn Newsletter in New Jersey! ®
CHALLENGE The Newsletter of the Gay Activist Alliance in Morris County – Serving New Jersey’s GLBTI Communities Since 1972
Volume 37, Issue 7, September 2011
Happy Anniversary! by Mickey Suiter
Where were you on September 11, 1972? What, you weren’t born yet? Or you don’t remember? That’s not surprising. It was a very long time ago. The only reason I remember where I was, is that was the date of the first meeting of GAAMC and I was in the dining room at MUF.
have many who have hung around for a long time, giving us a sense of where we’ve come from and sharing their experience. But what has also kept this organization alive is the constant stream of new members with their energy and ideas.
At 39, GAAMC is the oldest community LGBT organizations in New Jersey and one of the oldest in the country. We’ve experienced a lot and accomplished a lot in that time. We’ve marched, partied, lobbied, taught, learned, nurtured, made friends, and been friends. We’ve entert a i n e d , b e e n e n t e rtained, informed, and been informed. In short, we have tried to be anything and everything our community wanted and needed – within our resources and abilities, anyway.
If you have an idea about what you think GAAMC should be doing now or in the future, make it happen. Get involved. Join a committee. We have far too many committees of one doing a lot of work but wearing out that one. In December, we will be holding our annual elections for officers and members of the Board of Trustees. Most of these positions are open to all members, not just a select few. If you have ideas for GAAMC that you would like to see put into action, consider joining the Board. GAAMC is only as strong, vibrant and relevant as its members make it.
On Monday, September 12 we will be having a little party to celebrate our anniversary. It will be the usual fabulous GAAMC social with a display of artifacts from our history – publications, flyers, posters, articles, and photos. But while anniversaries are often occasions for looking back to reminisce, they are also great times to look forward sort of like New Year’s Eve, where we’re celebrating the beginning of a new year as much as the end of the old one. There are always new opportunities and new needs. One of the reasons GAAMC has endured while other organizations that started around the same time have not, is that we have tried to change with the times and have apparently succeeded, at least most of the time. As the needs of our community have changed, so have we. Of course, we’ve kept most of the basics – our name, time and place of meetings - the same. People find comfort in tradition and continuity. But we’ve tried to understand the evolving needs and desires of our community and find ways to serve them. We’ve somehow managed to find the right mix of stability and change. I think that is mostly due to the people who have led our organization over the years. We have been fortunate to
Come celebrate our history on September 12, but also help us build the future. GAAMC is your organization and it can be anything you want it to be. Happy 39th Anniversary, GAAMC.
Inside Challenge Challenge Information.... ................................ page 2 GAAMC Events.............................................. page 2 The Bulletin Board......................................... page 3 This Month's Contributors................................ page 3 Getting Personal............................................ page 3 Gleanings: Queer news from around the world .... page 4 Introducing Quiet Auctions............................... page 5 LEAGUE Foundation Announces 2011 Scholarship Winners..................................... page 5 Dancing to Architecture music reviews............... page 6 Calendar ..................................................... page 7 Poetry: Campgrounds: Late Summer................ page 10 10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked, part 3................. page 12 GAAMC Information...................................... page 14
Page 2 CHALLENGE September 2011 CHALLENGE Volume 37, Number 7 September 2011 ISSN 0277-1675 Staff Editor .....................Allen Neuner Assistant Editor ............. Bill Stella Advertising Manager ............. open Circulation Manager ............. open List Manager ................ Sue Harris Submissions The deadline for all articles, inserts, and advertisements is the fifteenth of the previous month. All submissions must be provided as electronic files. E-mail submissions to Challenge @ GAAMC.org. Ad Rates Single issue: Full page, $125.00; Half page, $85.00; Quarter page, $45.00; Business card, $25.00. For multi-issue rates, contact the Editor at Challenge @ GAAMC.org. GAAMC members may place one free classified ad per month, of no more than 200 characters in length. Change of Address Please let us know your new address! All address changes should be sent to the List Manager at ChangeAddress @ GAAMC.org. Challenge is © 2011-2012 by the Gay Activist Alliance in Morris County, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt not-for-profit corporation. All rights reserved. All articles reflect the views of the original contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of GAAMC, its officers, or executive board. All copyrights revert to the original contributors upon publication. No portion of this publication may be reproduced without the express written permission of the contributor. All articles, contributions, and advertisements are printed at the discretion of the Editor and/or GAAMC Executive Board.
GAAMC Events Every Monday OpenTalk Discussion Group: A regular weekly discussion group, open to all. Moderators: Gordon (September 5); Sherri (September 12); Elias (September 19); Kerry (September 26). 7:00, Library Main Events September 5 – Labor Day Cookout! GAAMC’s cherished tradition of end-of-summer cookouts continues! We provide hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers and the like; you bring what you’re most famous for at your family BBQs! Let our Social Committee know what you have in store, by dropping them a line at Socials @ GAAMC.org or see Charlie Murphy on Monday nights. September 12 – GAAMC celebrates 39 years of activism! We’ve come a long way, baby, and we’ve still got miles to go before LGBTI people are fully equal. GAAMC celebrates its “Jack Benny Birthday” with a presentation by our Archive Committee – wow, did we really look like that? You bet! And our work goes on! September 19 – $1.98 Beauty Pageant! September’s GAAMC traditions continue with the annual $1.98 Beauty Pageant! Come and see the “scholarship competition” that sends up all the others as they have been presented since the first bathing beauties competed in Atlantic City in the early part of the last century! Urvashi has reigned for the past year and to whom will she pass her crown? Do you have the desire to compete? Registration is simple – see Sherri any Monday night until the contest! September 26 – The GAAMC Film Festival presents Brother Outsider. GAAMC has played well with others since our beginning 39 years ago. GAAMC has received a birthday gift from our friends at the Morris County branch of the NAACP in the form of the magnificent biographical documentary of Bayard Rustin, Brother Outsider. After all, we’re fighting for many of the same rights, and the same arguments are being used against us now as were used against the Freedom Riders nearly 50 years ago. Come see the many ways the struggles for black civil rights and gay civil rights are the same. Coming Next Month! October 3 – You asked for it! GAAMC presents an Extended Open Talk Discussion Group – because sometimes we all have much more to say than can be accomplished in a mere hour. Sherri will facilitate the first Extended Open Talk of the fall season. October 10 – Pride Guide Live! Ever wonder about those who advertise in the premier guide to everything of LGBTI interest in the entire state of New Jersey? GAAMC's mini gay expo will take place tonight from 7 pm to 10 pm. Come by to meet gay and gay-friendly business leaders; health, legal, and financial professionals; spiritual communities; and other LGBTI and LGBTI-supportive organizations! [Note: All programs and discussion groups are subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information, go to GAAMC.org]
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The Bulletin Board GLBT of Hunterdon County of NJ is a newly forming group, open to GLBT teens and adults and their friends, parents, and family members. Are you gay or lesbian and need somebody to talk to? Please come to our meetings! We welcome all parents, families, and friends of lesbians and gay men. There is no membership fee. We will be meeting at the North County branch of the Hunterdon County Library in Clinton. For more information, visit our website at www.GLBTofHunterdonCountyofNJ.com, or email Matthew Loscialo at matthewl @ student.fdu.edu. GAAMC invites you to join us and our friends from Alternate Thursdays, Morris County NOW, NAACP Morris County Branch, RU Pride, the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, and many others for a night of extreme WNBA action at the Prudential Center in Newark! On Sunday, September 4th, cheer on the NY Liberty as they take on the Minnesota Lynx. Tickets are FREE, but you must reserve your seats by using the form on GAAMC.org's Upcoming Programs page: www.GAAMC.org/programs.html. Do it today! Asbury Park's Jersey Shore Q-Spot has not one, but two big events coming up in September! The third annual San GAY-nero Feast is billed as "an Italian feast with many fun surprises!" It will be held in Asbury Park starting at 1 pm on Sunday, September 11, at the low price of $10 for Q-Spot members and $12 for non-members. Then on Sunday, September 25, join the Q-Spot at its third annual mini-golf and pizza event in Manchester! Tee off at 2 pm, then follow up with a pizza feast! The cost for golf and pizza combined is only $15. For more information, check out the Jersey Shore Q-Spot website, www.jsqspot.org. The Pride Center of New Jersey invites you to Rutgers for their 2011 LGBT Fashion Show! This fundraiser helps support the Pride Center's various groups, including Youth Drop-In and their new Veterans' and HIV groups. Great fashions, great models (male and female), and for a great cause! Save the date — September 24th — and be there at the Cook College Campus Center in New Brunswick! For more information, or to order tickets, go to the Pride Center's website at www.pridecenter.org. RU Pride, the GLBT group of Rutgers-Newark, invites all interested GLBT undergrads to the eighth annual Out for Undergraduate Business Conference (OUBC) September 30th thru October 1st in New York. Registration is $40 prior to September 15 and $60 after that date; scholarships are available. For more information, send an e-mail to rupridenewark @ gmail.com. Activities, tours, hikes, picnics, trips, dinners, socials… It’s all on GayOutdoors.org (GO), an online national webbased organization for guys to plan events and participate in those scheduled gatherings. Online membership is free, but there is an annual fee to have access to post or host events. Members all over the United States and Canada post events that may be viewed on the GO calendar. Members may sign up for any event, as many events as they want, and for any event in any region. In the NJ/PA/ NY area, GAAMC board member Ed Schell has posted plans for the following: September, a hike-nic at Spruce Run Park; October, a vineyard tour and wine tasting; Novem-
ber, a bolder field crossing hike at Hickory Run Park; December, a holiday tour and lunch at Peddler’s Village; January, a membership dinner; February, snow tubing; March, a tour of historical Moravian pottery and tile furnaces, with lunch in Doylestown, PA; and April, a tour of the battleship Intrepid and lunch. Some events may be changed due to scheduling conflicts. Any questions regarding the locally hosted events can be directed to Ed at sche357 @ aol.com. Due to Hurricane Irene, Hudson Pride Connections Center has rescheduled their Pride Festival to Sunday, October 9th. Check for more details at their website, www.HudsonPride.org. Hyacinth AIDS Foundation invites you all to its Gala and Silent Auction on November 12th at 7:00 pm! This black tie optional event includes cocktails, a silent auction, dinner, and dancing. The place is the Maritime Parc at Liberty State Park in Jersey City! For more information, or to purchase tables, tickets, and advertising in the Gala Journal, contact Patrick Bocco, Director of Fundraising, at 732246-0204, or online at pbocco @ hyacinth.org.
This Month's Contributors Tony Puma: A career in sales/marketing/advertising and public relations influences his poetry style: less abstract and more to-the-point. Degrees from New York University and Fairleigh Dickinson University. A member of various poetry groups including Italian-American Writers Association, Red Wheel Barrow Poets, Paulinskill Poetry Project, Poets House (NYC), South Mountain Poets, and Hudson Valley Poets-on- the-Loose. A view of life through the prism of poetry; seeing, hearing, and feeling, trying to capture emotions and relate them via words. (pg. 10) Evelyn Schlatter and Robert Steinback are researchers and authors in the field of sexuality and civil rights whose articles have frequently appeared in Intelligence Report, the newsletter of the Southern Poverty Law Center. (pg. 12) Andy Skurna is the Treasurer of GAAMC. served as President for two terms. (pg. 5)
He has also
Bill Realman Stella writes Dancing to Architecture because writing about music is like that. He hosted the eclectic pop music show Highest Common Denominator in his mind for twenty years before getting it on the radio for six, and will host it again. Bill has been collecting music since age 4, when for each song he'd hear on the radio, he'd ask his mom, "Do they have a record?" Making a record good enough to play on the radio remains a small miracle after all these years. If you'd like Bill to write, DJ, or promote for you, get in touch. Comments and suggestions also welcome. Visit http://HowToFindTheBestMusic.blogspot.com or write bearealman @ gmail.com. (pg. 6)
Getting Personal Seeking employment in the field of development/fund-raising, emphasis on event planning. Experienced professional looking for work in New Jersey or Manhattan. Contact Allen at 908-252-9303. To rent: First floor of furnished Dover house: bedroom, living room, kitchen, bath, laundry. Driveway. $1200/month +utilities. Call Sue at 908-581-0098.
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Queer news from around the world A Central California school district did not adequately investigate or respond to complaints of bullying endured by 13-year-old Seth Walsh, who later committed suicide after being harassed by classmates because he was gay. Federal Education and Justice Department officials told the Tehachapi Unified School District that school officials failed in their legal duty to protect Walsh from "persistent, pervasive and often severe sex-based harassment" at Jacobsen Middle School. To settle the case, the school district has agreed to be subjected to several years of monitoring on its antiharassment efforts and to train school staff on how to properly handle complaints, even though it disputed the government's findings. (Associated Press) The California Assembly gave final approval to a bill that would require the state's public schools to teach the historical contributions of LGBT individuals in social science curriculum. California Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed the legislation, authored by openly gay State Sen. Mark Leno (D), who said it would ensure that LGBT Americans are no longer excluded from history lessons. (GayPolitics.com; Sacramento Bee) The Department of Justice filed a legal brief that is being hailed by LGBT advocates as a historic document in the legal fight for equality for LGBT Americans. The brief cites the unconstitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in arguing that a federal employee's lawsuit over partner benefits should not be dismissed, and lays out a history of discrimination against LGBT people in the U.S. The Obama administration had earlier announced it would no longer defend DOMA, but this is the first time it has sought to convince a federal court that the law is unconstitutional. (Metro Weekly, Washington, DC) The House of Representatives has approved an amendment to a defense appropriations bill reaffirming the Defense of Marriage Act, which limits federal recognition of marriage to unions between a man and a woman. Six Republicans crossed party lines to vote against the measure, but 19 Democrats backed it. Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee has begun hearing testimony on repealing DOMA from gays and lesbians who said the law has had grave financial consequences for them. House Speaker John Boehner said he would not consider bringing a repeal of DOMA to a vote, making it unlikely the bill will become law. (Washington Blade) Sao Paulo, Brazil state Judge Fernando Henrique Pinto has ruled that two gay men may convert their civil union to a marriage, clearing the way for Brazil's first gay nuptials. "It's an immense joy. I'm still trying to comprehend this historic moment," said Luiz Andre Moresi, who plans to marry his partner of eight years, Sergio Kauffman Sousa. (Washington Post) Chileâ€™s government is preparing legislation that would legally recognize civil unions between gay couples. The bill, which could be presented to Congress by next week, would grant legal rights to gay couples who have lived together for more than one year. (La Tercera, Santiago) A New Jersey gay couple who had entered into an official civil union have been separated after an immigration agent tracked down one of the men, a Peruvian national who had overstayed his visa. Unlike straight married couples, gays and lesbians cannot sponsor their foreign partners for naturalization in the United States because the Defense of Mar-
riage Act bars recognition of their legal relationships. (NY Daily News) The Obama administration announced a new immigration enforcement policy that will focus resources on high-priority individuals who pose a threat to national security and safety. Though the policy does not rule out enforcement for specific categories of undocumented immigrants, officials said it meant that cases involving same-sex couples and others with strong family ties in the U.S. would no longer be the focus of efforts to deport those in the country illegally. (New York Times) President Barack Obama has issued a proclamation stating that violators of human rights and those who conspire with them shall be denied entry into the U.S. The document included language that would block those who persecute others based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. (Washington Blade) Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the White House they are ready to end the longstanding ban on openly gay U.S. military personnel. Their certification, coupled with President Obama's, triggered a 60-day waiting period before out gays and lesbians can begin to serve, meaning the ban will end on September 20th. The Pentagon had already stopped enforcing the ban on openly gay troops to comply with an order from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals prior to the certifications. However, legally married gay and lesbian service members will not be offered the same spousal benefits as heterosexual troops after the "don't ask, don't tell" policy ends, since the military must adhere to current federal law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. (Wall Street Journal; New York Times) The Suquamish tribal council, based in Washington state, has voted unanimously to allow same-sex couples to marry. "It is part of our tradition and our culture to be inclusive, to accept people who may be different," said an attorney for the tribe, explaining that the vote was not controversial. (Agence France-Presse) The California Supreme Court announced that it will be hearing arguments on September 6th on a question from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the Perry v. Brown challenge to Proposition 8. The question, at its base, is whether California law allows the proponents of ballot initiatives to defend laws like Proposition 8 in court in a situation where the state's officeholders have chosen not to appeal the loss in lower courts. (Metro Weekly, Washington, DC) ProtectMarriage.com, the anti-gay marriage group defending California's same-sex marriage ban, is appealing a ruling that a U.S. judge's own gay relationship was no basis for tossing out his decision in support of same-sex marriage. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker last year struck down California's same-sex marriage ban, known as Proposition 8, openly discussing his own gay relationship after retiring from the bench earlier this year. Supporters of the ban say his ruling was compromised and should be vacated, but Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware ruled that granting such a request would send a message that minority judges could not rule in civil rights cases. (Reuters) (continued on page 9)
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Introducing Quiet Auctions
LEAGUE Foundation Announces 2011 Scholarship Winners
GAAMC has received donations from several charitable members, past members, organizations, and other supporters. We will begin offering these items for sale in what we are calling “Quiet Auctions.” 100% of the funds will go directly to GAAMC, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit tax exempt organization.
Marking its 15th year, LEAGUE Foundation continues its mission by awarding 7 college scholarships in 2011. Since its inception in 1996, LEAGUE Foundation has awarded a total of 93 scholarships to students attending 73 different institutions.
So far, we have amassed quite a large inventory of great items and we’re eager to see them find new homes. Some of the items are new, but most are gently used. The list includes items large and small, such as end tables, area rugs, lamps, laundry care items, dinnerware sets, a microwave oven, a vase, candleholders, a tool box with hand tools, Judy & Liza memorabilia, a kitchen table and chairs, lots of books, space heaters, electric fans, A/V equipment, and so much more.
The LEAGUE Foundation provides financial resources for America’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth to attend institutions of higher learning. Through the years the Foundation has received applications from students in all 50 states. Key selection criteria for these students include: identification as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender; achievement of a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale; active and substantial involvement in community service; and acceptance to an accredited college or university.
by Andy Skurna
Here’s how it will work: We will post a custom page on our website at GAAMC.org, which will serve as your bidding form. Lots from each bidding form will be available at GAAMC for live preview on the Monday of the bidding week. You may complete a bidding form and submit your bid live however, a valid email account (yours or a friend’s) is required to participate in active bidding. Bidding remains open all week and people may bid on those items anytime. From the online bidding form you may preview photos, descriptions and minimum bids, and bid on the items you’d like. Fill in your contact info at the bottom and hit “submit.” Your bid will be sent to our Fundraising Committee, so we may update the minimum bid amounts on the online bidding form page. Emails will be sent to all active bidders advising of the current winning bid amounts for all active lots, so that they may decide whether or not to increase their bids. Bidding will close at midnight on Friday. PayPal invoices will be sent to all winning bidders. Winners will have to pay for and pick up their items the Monday after bidding closes, or they may ask us to hold items for one week. Any items not picked up by the second Monday (paid for, or not) will be offered to the second highest bidder. If they are no longer interested in the item, it may be offered in a future auction. Our projected start date is the Labor Day social on September 5th, so keep an eye out for our first lots and bidding form at GAAMC.org at the beginning of the month!
Executive Director Charles Eader said, “As more and more young people throughout the U.S. are becoming aware of LEAGUE Foundation’s scholarship program, our selection committee has a harder task of narrowing the increasing selection pool to the 7 award winners, as was the case this year. Each and every applicant should be congratulated for their courage to be an out and visible member of the GLBT community at such a young age.” This year’s Matthew Shepard Memorial Scholarship, named for the Wyoming college student murdered in 1998 for his sexual orientation, was awarded in the amount of $2,500 to Noah Rory Mann of Newport, RI. Ms. Mann will be attending Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, NH. The Laurel Hester Memorial Scholarship, named after the Ocean County, NJ police lieutenant who successfully battled county freeholders for the right to leave her pension and other benefits to her surviving domestic partner, was awarded in the amount of $2,500 to Daniel Sparks of Parma, OH. Mr. Sparks will be attending Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. Five additional scholarships in the amount of $1,500 each were awarded to: Mason Hsieh of Oakland, CA (attending Harvard University, MA); Aden Cook of Grand Island, NY (State University of NY at Buffalo); Pauline Varley of Cleveland Heights, OH (Massachusetts Institute of Technology); Derek Demeri of North Haledon, NJ (Rutgers University, NJ); and Cody Jackson of Delray Beach, FL (University of Florida). Contributions to the LEAGUE Foundation scholarship programs can be made through its website, www.LEAGUEFoundation.org. As a 501(c)3 organization, contributions to the Foundation may be tax deductible.
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Dancing To Architecture™
Music Reviews & News with a Queer Ear by Bill Realman Stella PERFECT LATE-SUMMER MUSIC Meet Amazing Soul Singers: Nikki Jean ~ Pennies In A Jar Every once in a while, someone comes along and dusts off ideas and sounds that have become hidebound, refreshing the beloved and the familiar with newfound fire. Right now, that someone is Nikki Jean. Tempted as I am to wax poetic about her and her backstory (I've been repeatedly listening to this album, mulling over it), it's best if I simply describe some tracks: "My Love” …Well, what do you say about a song that dares you, with one of the most-used titles of all time, to not bother sampling it at all? Then double-dares you to keep from tossing it at the wall (if one had a disc in hand to toss…) in the instant one recognizes that this will be a Motown-styled record. What do you say? “My Love” delivers! I've heard record after record that has "revived" the Motown Sound. From Phil Collins's stripped down and pumped up “You Can't Hurry Love” to Cee-Lo Green's “Fuck You” fronting, each one went bigger than the originals, each one tried to out-do the originals. What's essential here, what's sheer pleasure, what's magic is Nikki Jean meets the Motown standard and sticks it like a landing at every chord change. What impresses is it doesn't sound needy—not needily trying to impress. You can tick mark a checklist of Motown elements: The tough-butappealing intro, the piano underpinnings, the sinewy “chunk” of the guitar, finger snapping: They're all here. So are the string section, the horn section, the back-up singers on harmonies and "ooo-ooo”'d responses and the harp glissando at just the right moment: Check, check, check, an-n-nd… check. But the differences are subtle, and striking: The "girl" singer doesn't sound like a mewling sex kitten; instead she's singing a classy lyric that could be sung in almost any genre. The bassist is as tightly honed to the rest of the rhythm section as ever, yet it's freer, playing a melody that implies it's a happily made up on-the-spot, “ba-pa-bah"'d tune that popped into one's head while strolling on a sunny day. And although everything is present and accounted for, it's all a bit laid back, as if no one is pretending this is The Most Important Three Minutes Ever—but it is the most important moment of the singer's life. How's that for pulling off a dangerous balancing act? Then it goes and nails the final minute with a perfectmoment's homage to “Baby Love.” Gotta love that, baby. “Million Star Motel” is such a wonderful joint — and I call it that because it joins separate elements seemlessly. In a rare twist, two rap segments by Black Thought and Lupe Fiasco are very good: The moment they hit it feels like contrast not interruption; and they're poetic, adding essential images to the song. But one key line is sung: “The suits and the schemers / can't see beyond what they can sell.” “Steel and Feathers (Don't Ever)” demonstrates how the impossible sometimes takes just a little longer. The record is a fusion of tempered, hammered strength like steel and gentle, feathery flight support given freely, an apt metaphor expressed as a gospel march. The story behind how Nikki Jean collaborated with legends on these songs, these Pennies In A Jar, is fascinating. To quote extensively from, it seems, her publicist: “Who could imagine that an artist who was still in her early 20s
and had no solo recordings on her resume would reach out to songwriters such as Jimmy Webb, Carole King, Lamont Dozier, Burt Bacharach, Bob Dylan, and ask them to collaborate, and that so many of them would open their doors? That she could spend weeks in Nashville writing with members of the Country Music Songwriters Hall of Fame like Bobby Braddock, go to Martha's Vineyard to write with Carly Simon, recapture the sound of Philly Soul with Thom Bell? Get Brill Building writers Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Jeff Barry, all now relocated in Los Angeles, to write with her the way they used to write in the cubicles of Aldon Music? It was around three years ago when Nikki and her producer Sam Hollander started the project. With the help of publishers Jody Gerson and Marty Bandier, and a contract with a major label, they started to contact a wish list of people to write with. Jimmy Webb, who almost never collaborates, said he would. Burt Bacharach sent Nikki melodies for verses and chorus, and waited for a lyric [to “Pennies In A Jar”] before sending her the bridge: he wanted to be sure. Dylan sent her an unfinished song from the Shot of Love era, [“Steel and Feathers (Don't Ever)”] and invited her to complete it. She got to write with Luigi Creatore, whose roots go back to the `50s with Sam Cooke, and who wrote for Elvis. Ultimately, maybe fifty songs were written for this album. What you hear is a compact history of pop: the girl group sound, Motown, the sophisticated melodies of Bacharach and Webb, a place where country literally meets hip hop, the art of the singer-songwriter. All tied together by Nikki Jean's warmth, her joy in making this music, her gift to be able to change shape and still stay herself.” Yes, she's a perceptive woman with a vision. And throughout these many collaborations, it's Nikki Jean's talent that shines. Do not saddle her with the label "retro"—a hurried sampling might lead some to believe it's the same old thing—because she and her team imbue these songs with true soul and individuality. Pennies In A Jar is modern, with a few hat tips to the past. For a broad demographic, it's simply the album most deserving of support in awhile. And by “broad demographic” I mean “Including older folks who complain about today's sounds,” and by “support” I mean “Buy it.” Don't miss the amazing first act of the solo career of Nikki Jean.
Beverley Knight ~ Soul UK Seemingly blocked from the pop charts in the U.S., Beverley Knight is a successful U.K Soul singer, but remains an importonly artist here. The competitive nature of the U.S. music market seems to ration its top slots for songs that catch fire from the start and push an intense voice in your face. Knight's cooler sultriness should be a most-welcome change of pace from the hyper-controlled preprogrammed music marketing machine. But what do they know? Whatever it is about programmers and promoters in the U.S. that don't make room for Knight, you don't have to be as ignorant as the pro's. If you're not inclined to enjoy every diva-wannabe's histrionic vocal attacks sung to resonate your sinuses and split your ears asunder, if you appreciate a well-placed, lyrical emphasis and a light clear broth of a lyric, search out Beverley Knight's new album Soul UK. Best tracks: “When You Gonna Learn” transcends today's news with a call to build a far-sighted future. Human dignity is the message of the funky “Apparently Nothin'.” This is “the original funky dread,” proclaims “Fairplay” up front, working out relationship stresses on the dance floor. “Mama Used To Say” is bongo-driven and jazz-tinged. “One More Try” is a Gospel ballad buried treasure: at the personal level, a “student” is yearning for independence from the "teacher." (continued on page 10)
September 2011 CHALLENGE Page 7
September 2011 Calendar Recurring Contact Information
* Hackensack Peer Support Groups: 800-508-7577; www.njbuddies.org † Pride Center, Highland Park: 732-846-2232; www.pridecenter.org ‡ Hudson Pride Connections Center: 201-963-4779; HudsonPride.org λ LGBT Center Rainbow Lounge, Princeton: www.princeton.edu/lgbt ♦ Jersey Shore Q-Spot, Asbury Park: www.jsqspot.org Monday – Friday 9:00 am to 11:00 am - The Daily Grind, Princetonλ 9:00 am to 1:00 pm - HIV testing, Asbury Park; 800-947-0020 10:00 am to 5:00 pm - HiTOPS Health Center, Princeton; www.hitops.org; 609-683-5155 x 211 Every Monday 10:30 am - The Wellness Community, Newark; 973-565-0300; info @ hyacinth.org 7:00 pm - GAAMC, Morristown (see page 2) 7:00 pm - Bowling, Union; merenl @ comcast.net 7:30 pm - S.E.L.F. HIV Men’s support group, Hackensack* 7:30 pm - New Jersey Gay Men’s Chorus choir practice, Princeton; 609-396-7774; www.njgmc.org 7:30 pm - Overeaters Anonymous, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - Stitch n B*tch, Highland Park† 8:00 pm - Bowling, Green Brook; qcrollers @ aol.com Every Tuesday 12:30 pm - The Wellness Community, Newark; 973-565-0300; info @ hyacinth.org 4:00 pm - Treatment Adherence Support Group, Jersey City; 201-432-1134; info @ hyacinth.org 6:00 pm - Transview, Jersey City‡ 7:30 pm - Tuesday Night Lesbian Connection, Bound Brook; 908-791-3764 7:30 pm - Men’s HIV support group, Asbury Park; 732-775-5084; apstillpoz @ yahoo.com 7:30 pm - Positive Yoga, Hackensack* 8:45 pm - Bowling, Belleville; 973-256-5936; NJGLB @ aol.com 9:00 pm - Bowling, Jersey City; 201-933-6028; JoeyNJ @ aol.com 9:15 pm - Bowling, Edison; 732-548-4550; cnjgbl @ yahoo.com 01 Thu 7:00 pm - GLBT of Hunterdon County of NJ, Clinton; www.glbtofhunterdoncountyofnj.com; matthewl @ student.fdu.edu 7:30 pm - Coffee Night, Edison; njlgh.onefireplace.com 02 Fri 7:00 pm - Positive Women peer support group, Hackensack* 7:00 pm - Under the Rainbow, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - Karaoke Party, Highland Park† 03 Sat 2:30 pm - First and Third for GLBTI youth, Princeton; 609-683-5155; www.HiTOPS.org 04 Sun 1:00 pm - Rainbow Book Group, Jersey City‡ 4:00 pm - Dignity Metro NJ Mass, Maplewood; 973-509-0118; Dignitymetronj @ msn.com 4:00 pm - WNBA Basketball, Newark (see Bulletin Board, page 3) 6:30 pm - Gay Men’s Opera Club; 732-249-9034; hagol @ msn.com 05 Mon 7:00 pm - Support Group for Lesbians with Cancer,
Every Wednesday 10:30 am - The Wellness Community, Jersey City; 201-432-1134; info @ hyacinth.org 2:00 pm - "Generation Q", WRSU 88.7 FM; wrsu.org 6:00 pm - Positive People peer support group, Hackensack* 7:30 pm - Men’s Living Out group, Highland Park; njwarrior @ aol.com† 7:30 pm - Gay Men’s Coming Out group, Highland Park; pdumpert @ gmail.com† Every Thursday 11:30 am - Living Beyond, Jersey City‡ 6:00 pm - Our Youth weekly support group, Jersey City; www.myspacenj.org 6:30 pm - Double Jeopardy peer support group, Hackensack* 7:00 pm - Sexual Assault Survivor Support, Princeton; www.hitops.org 7:00 pm - Weigh-Lez, Asbury Park♦ 7:30 pm - Rainbows on Cleveland Street, Orange; 973-256-5936; rbowsoncleveland @ aol.com 7:30 pm - Writers group, Highland Park† Every Friday 3:00 pm - Youth Connect, Jersey City‡ 3:00 pm - C.R.A.V.E., Jersey City‡ Every Sunday 10:00 am - MCC of Christ the Liberator, Highland Park; mccliberator @ excite.com† Noon - St. Francis of Assisi Church, Glen Ridge; 973-731-7765; stfrancisnj.org 2:30 pm - Liberation in Truth Unity Fellowship Church, Newark; 973-621-2100 5:30 pm - Central Jersey Rainbows Bowling League, Bradley Beach; CJRBowling @ gmail.com New Brunswick; 732-235-6781; slirzero @ umdnj.edu 7:00 pm - Lesbian Hot Topics, Asbury Park♦ 8:30 pm - A Night Out, Highland Park† 06 Tue 4:00 pm - HIV Testing & Needle Exchange, Jersey City‡ 6:00 pm - Gay Pride Business Network, New Brunswick; www.gpbn.net 7:00 pm - ComeOUT & Play, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - LGBT Fellowship, Belleville; 973-751-0616 07 Wed 7:30 pm - Gay Dad’s discussion group, Highland Park† 08 Thu Noon - Booked for Lunch, Highland Park† 6:30 pm - Volunteer orientation, Jersey City‡ 7:00 pm - Qspot Book Club, Point Pleasant♦ 7:30 pm - PFLAG of North Jersey, South Orange; 908-789-7489; pflagwaver @ aol.com 7:30 pm - Alternate Thursdays, Montclair; kjdinkin @ comcast.net 7:30 pm - AVER-Veterans and Friends Group, Highland Park† 09 Fri 7:30 pm - Passion Party, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - United People Positive, Highland Park†
Page 8 CHALLENGE September 2011 09 Fri 8:00 pm - Shabbat service, East Brunswick; njlgh.onefireplace.com 10 Sat Noon - Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono, PA; www.meetup.com/North-Jersey-Primetimers 1:00 pm - Youth Drop-In, Highland Park† 7:00 pm - Movie Social, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - Dignity New Brunswick gay Catholic liturgy; 732968-9263; dignitynb @ earthlink.net 11 Sun 1:00 pm - San GAYnero Feast, Asbury Park♦ (see Bulletin Board, page 3) 6:00 pm - Gay Men’s Classical Song Club, Kingston; pbrown02 @ worldnet.att.net 12 Mon 6:30 pm - HIV Testing, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - PFLAG of Morris County, Mendham; 973-727-5288; pflag.morris @ verizon.net 7:30 pm - PFLAG, Princeton; 609-663-5155; www.pflagprinceton.org 7:30 pm - So You Think You Can't Write!, Highland Park† 13 Tue 7:30 pm - Bisexual Social Support Group, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - PCNJ Board of Trustees meeting, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - Yoga for Men, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - AVER-American Vets for Equal Rights, Highland Park† 8:00 pm - Men's Social Night, Highland Park† 14 Wed 6:00 pm - Gay Pride Business Network, Asbury Park; www.gpbn.net 6:30 pm - North Jersey Prime Timers' monthly meetup, Little Falls; www.meetup.com/North-Jersey-Primetimers 9:00 pm - Dine with Pride, Metuchen ; jennifer.horsey @ cit.com 15 Thu 6:30 pm - Pride planning meeting, Jersey City‡ 7:00 pm - GAAMC board meeting, Morristown; All GAAMC members are invited to attend. 7:00 pm - GLSEN Training, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - NJ Women Coming Out Support Group, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - PFLAG of Northwest NJ, Sparta; 973-729-9909 16 Fri 7:00 pm - Positive Women peer support group, Hackensack* 7:00 pm - NJ Furries Art Workshop, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - Support Group for Parents of LGBTIQ Youth/Young Adults, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - Dignity New Brunswick social; 732-968-9263; dignitynb @ earthlink.net 8:00 pm - Out of the Box open mic night, Highland Park (sign-up begins 7:30); outoftheboxinfo @ mac.com 17 Sat 2:30 pm - First and Third for GLBTI youth, Princeton; 609-683-5155; www.HiTOPS.org 7:00 pm - Rainbow Bowling, Bradley Beach; 732-774-4540 7:00 pm - NJ Gay Film Society & Potluck Dinner Club, location TBA; gayfilms @ bigfoot.com 7:00 pm - Games Night + Dessert, Highland Park†
18 Sun 4:00 pm - Dignity Metro NJ Mass, Maplewood; 973-509-0118; Dignitymetronj @ msn.com 4:00 pm - TrueSelves trans support group, Highland Park† 4:30 pm - Torah Queeries, Highland Park† 19 Mon 7:00 pm - Support Group for Lesbians with Cancer, New Brunswick; 732-235-6781; slirzero @ umdnj.edu 7:00 pm - Lesbian Hot Topics, Asbury Park♦ 7:30 pm - LGBT Activist Forum, Highland Park† 20 Tue 4:00 pm - HIV Testing & Needle Exchange, Jersey City‡ 7:00 pm - ComeOUT & Play, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - Lesbian Alliance of Princeton; 609-924-8174; Loisj @ msn.com 7:30 pm - PFLAG of Hunterdon County, Flemington; 908-752-1370; pflaghc @ yahoo.com 8:00 pm - PFLAG of Bergen County, Paramus; 201-287-0318; www.bergenpflag.org 8:00 pm - NJ Women, Secaucus; info @ njwomen.org 21 Wed 7:00 pm - TGLCA monthly meeting, Trenton; tglca.com 7:30 pm - United in Grace discussion/support group, Jersey City; 201-946-0650; greg.perez @ comcast.net 8:00 pm - Havurah board meeting, Edison; njlgh.onefireplace.com 22 Thu 6:30 pm - Minerals Resort & Spa, Vernon; www.meetup.com/North-Jersey-Primetimers 23 Fri 1:00 pm - Women With Voices, Jersey City‡ 7:00 pm - Rock Hero, Highland Park† 24 Sat 1:00 pm - Youth Drop-In, Highland Park† 2:00 pm - Youth Support Group, Highland Park† 2:30 pm - LGBT Fashion Show, New Brunswick (see Bulletin Board, pg. 3) 7:00 pm - Gay Bowling, Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park; 732-776-6160 7:00 pm - Games Night & Dessert Party, Highland Park† 7:30 pm - Men's Potluck Dinner, Highland Park† 25 Sun 2:00 pm - Mini-Golf and Pizza, Manchester♦ (see Bulletin Board, page 3) 2:00 pm - House party, Passaic; www.meetup.com/North-Jersey-Primetimers 26 Mon 8:30 pm - Meditation Group, Highland Park† 27 Tue 3:00 pm - LGBT Health Drop-In, Princetonλ 7:30 pm - Yoga for Men, Highland Park† 8:00 pm - Men's Social, Highland Park† 28 Wed 6:00 pm - Gay Pride Business Network, Asbury Park; www.gpbn.net 6:00 pm - Queering the Color Line family dinner, Princetonλ
September 2011 CHALLENGE Page 9
(continued from page 4) Garden State Equality and seven same-sex couples in New Jersey will focus their marriage equality efforts on the courts rather than on the state Legislature. Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of the couples and the organization that argues that New Jersey's civil unions law offers inadequate protections for same-sex couples. (Star-Ledger)
A New Jersey woman, engaged to be married to her partner, won't be wearing the wedding dress she ordered at the Here Comes the Bride salon in Somers Point. Upon learning Alix Genter was marrying another woman, the salon's manager left a voicemail canceling Genter's order and telling her that her planned wedding was both wrong and illegal. (Philly.com) The Rhode Island Legislature passed a civil unions bill containing religious exemptions that some say go too far in allowing certain entities to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples. Still, many marriage equality opponents saw passage of the measure as a defeat. Governor Lincoln Chafee (Independent) signed the bill even though he doesn't favor the religious exemption language, making Rhode Island the fifth state to allow civil unions. (Providence Journal; CNN) New Hampshire state Representative David Bates (R), the sponsor of a bill in the New Hampshire House of Representatives that would reverse the state's marriage equality law, says he will try again to pass the measure in 2012. It's unlikely Bates would garner enough support to overcome an expected veto of such a bill by Governor John Lynch (D). (Boston Globe) Equality Maine and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders have announced an effort to win marriage equality through a statewide ballot initiative that will ask voters to grant marriage rights to same-sex couples. In 2009, the Maine Legislature passed a marriage equality law that was later narrowly overturned by a ballot initiative. (ThinkProgress.org) Cambridge, MA will compensate legally married gay and lesbian city employees to make up for a federal tax levied on the value of benefits extended to their spouses. Though marriage equality is law in Massachusetts, the federal government does not recognize legally married same-sex couples. (Boston Globe) Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy (D) signed into law a measure banning discrimination based on gender identity or expression. "Congratulations to the Connecticut TransAdvocacy Coalition and CtEquality and all those who have advocated for these critical protections," said Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force. (Bay Windows, Boston) The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that prison officials can't withhold hormone therapy and other treatments for transgender prisoners diagnosed with gender identity disorder. The ruling upheld a lower court decision. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal) The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena heard arguments arising from a prosecutor's decision last year to strike a lesbian from the jury weighing assault charges brought against a gay Nigerian inmate at the federal lockup in Los Angeles. Trial lawyers should be barred from dismissing potential jurors because of their sexual orientation, de-
fense attorneys argued in a case that, if successful, could extend constitutional protection from discrimination to homosexuality along with race, creed and gender. (Los Angeles Times) Ghana's Western Region Minister Paul Evans Aidoo, MP, has ordered police to arrest known homosexuals and called on citizens to inform on neighbors they suspect are gay or lesbian. The move follows a pressure campaign by a conservative religious group that has demanded politicians denounce gays and lesbians. "All efforts are being made to get rid of t h e s e p e o p l e i n t h e s o c i e t y, " A i d o o s a i d . (StarObserver.com.au, Australia) Uganda's so-called "kill the gays" bill continues to advance through Parliament, despite an attempt by the Ugandan cabinet to stop it. A lawyer for the country's ruling party has told the Cabinet that the measure is not needed because other statues already made being gay a crime. But Parliament has triggered a rule allowing them to resume consideration of legislation from a prior session. (Advocate.com) Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus criticized a joint statement issued by 13 ambassadors, including US Ambassador Norman Eisen, that supports an LGBT Pride celebration in Prague. Klaus has been under fire after refusing to admonish deputy chancellor Petr Hajek, who criticized the planned event as "a political demonstration...of a world in which sexual or any other deviation becomes virtue." Several thousand people peacefully marched through Prague in that city's first gay pride festival, guarded by some 300 police officers. (Washington Post; BBC) The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, has hosted the country's first LGBT Pride celebration. Though the country's laws are hostile to LGBT citizens, Deputy Ambassador Richard Hoagland issued a statement saying the U.S. intends to stand by LGBT Pakistanis "every step of the way." Religious groups critical of homosexuality condemned the event, calling it "social terrorism." (BBC) The International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA) has finally won United Nations accreditation. The group, which is one of the oldest international organizations fighting for gay rights, has been trying to gain recognition at the UN for years. Yesterday, countries voted 30-16 to grant the group consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). ILGA gained consultative status in 1993 but lost it a year later. (PinkNews.co.uk) The confirmation of J. Paul Oetken as a federal district court judge with a lifetime appointment was notable not only because he is the first openly gay man to ascend to the office in the US, but also because his nomination attracted no serious opposition. Oetken, a corporate attorney who has also worked with LGBT legal groups, was confirmed by an 80-13 vote in the Senate; no senator spoke against his confirmation during floor debate. (Washington Post) An expanding body of scientific evidence, including two studies that were released in early July, show that sticking to a regimen of anti-retroviral drugs can prevent people from becoming infected with HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS. Researchers say the discovery will likely add another tool to fight the spread of HIV. (New York Times) (continued on page 12)
Page 10 CHALLENGE September 2011
Campgrounds: Late Summer by Tony Puma
KEVIN P. SUSZKO, PC Certified Public Accountant
-TAX PLANNING & PREPARATION -FINANCIAL PLANNING -ACCOUNTING SERVICES -DAY & EVENING APPOINTMENTS -OFFICES IN NEW JERSEY & NYC Phone: 973–376–4121 P. O. Box 701 Short Hills, NJ 07078 E-Mail: KPSCPA@GMAIL.COM
The sun’s rays are still hot. Oak and maple trees keep the cabin cool in shade. Night-time breeze accompanies Owl in a nocturnal chorus. Brown and green leaves quietly fall to the forest floor. The end of summer, beginning of autumn. It is that time again, when the cabin will be camouflaged by flamboyant colors. As the quiet green pigment of summer, yields to the loud gay palette of autumn. Copyright 2009/Tony Puma ‘Voices in my head, verses to be read’.
Dancing To Architecture™ (continued from page 6) But don't stop until you hear her older tracks, too. As a latecomer to her, I'm enjoying discovering Knight's deep cuts. Delving in, here's some of the great stuff of hers I've discovered: “Not Too Late For Love” deserves a long life in pop song memory, part of a book of songs worth keeping, representing the new 21st century. It's a beautiful record, full of rich harmonies and pleasant catchiness. (From 2004's Affirmation) Knight's performance on “Gold” delivers the kind of unaffected singing style critics usually demand when complaining about someone with a distinctive style they dislike. The composition itself reminds me of a song that would appeal to Macy Gray's proud yet balanced persona. (From 2002's Who I Am) “Flava Of The Old School” is proud of its early 80s feel. A jaunty “Hey!" introduced early as a friendly intrusion into an otherwise sweet groove forms the basis of an end-chorus counterpart, playing off how the "Hey!” trails off to add called responses and syncopation. “Made It Back (Good Times 7 Mix)” continues that "old school" attitude, reproducing Chic's original classic “Good Times”, right down to the clacky rhythm guitar, sophisticatedly sparse piano, and lift of its breezy string section. “Come As You Are” (not the Nirvana song, for one), becomes an irresistible invitation to sing along at the top of your lungs. Knight's version of “Piece Of My Heart” sounds like Leon Russell became compelled to arrange it for Mary Russell, his then wife. It plays up chord changes previous versions shoved under pyrotechnic vocals, with a feel both evocative of Russell's characteristic Mad Dogs and Englishmen period and one that distinguishes a unique performance of a very familiar song. (All from 2006's Voice) Hint: These songs and many more, most at full length, can be heard at Knight's Soundcloud.com pages.
Meet Amazing Rock Storytellers: Frank Turner ~ England Keep My Bones Turner is a new discovery for me, but he's been actively recording for about a decade, transitioning from Hardcore singer to Folk-Punk troubadour. He's strongly recommended if you like Hamell On Trial, Bob Mould, Bouncing Souls, Against Me!, The Gaslight Anthem, or Alkaline Trio—and I very much do. I'm very enamored now of his 2008 album Love, Ire and Song (What a title!), but I've only begun exploring his back catalog. Of his new one, England Keep My Bones, Turner says, “I wanted to push myself to go further towards the edges of the little sort of field that I'm in, if that makes any sense at all. I wanted the loud bits to be louder and the quiet bits to be quieter and just stretch out in to all of the stylistic territories that I'm inhabiting right now… I wanted to be more ambitious and have more dynamic range." Turner and I are still getting better acquainted as it were, so lets turn to a great source, PunkNews.org, for a review of Turner's new album by “ThePopeofChili-town” (who, despite the handle, is no slouch at writing well.): “It’s been nearly two years since Frank Turner['s last] album. While he’s been plenty busy in the interim (touring with Social Distortion; releasing last year’s Rock and Roll EP, as well as a collaborative album with Jon Snodgrass; and appearing on a Bad Religion record), listening to his latest offering, England Keep My Bones, feels like he’s taken advantage of the extra time between releases and crafted an album that feels calculated in the best possible way. “The first noticeable thing is how many more bells and whistles are attached. His songwriting style hasn't changed all that much, but his execution has. The album opens with the sound of a [plaintive woodwinds] and horn section. These instruments, as well as keys courtesy of Matt Nasir and special guest Franz Nicolay [formerly of The Hold Steady and World/Inferno Friendship Society] play a more
September 2011 CHALLENGE Page 11 prominent role in Turner’s music than ever before. There’s also more evidence of studio wizardry —see the Queen-esque four-part vocal harmony on the opener “Eulogy”. First single “I Still Believe” has been floating around for the better part of a year. It’s a full-blown love letter to rock and roll from a man who has always worn his influences on his sleeve. Freddie Mercury, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen are all name-checked on England Keep My Bones. “It’s the lyrics that make his music so endearing, and he remains one of the best storytellers in music today. “Peggy Sings the Blues” is a heartfelt tribute to his grandmother, with one of the catchiest choruses you’ll likely hear this year. He weaves tales of dreamers stuck in ruts with “I Am Disappeared” and “Redemption” (one of the album’s best tracks, and indeed one of the best of Turner’s career thus far). The real triumph of the record, however, is “Glory Hallelujah”. It’s an atheistic anthem that’s going to piss a lot of people off, but more than that, it’s a call to arms to help make the world a better place. The lyrics “I know you’re scared of dying man, and I am too. / But just pretending it’s not happening isn't going to see us through. / If we accept that there’s an endgame and we haven’t got much time / Then in the here and now we could try and do things right” are among the most moving Turner’s ever written. “England Keep My Bones is another great record from a songwriter who’s been remarkably consistent thus far and shows no signs of slowing down. The additional flourishes of instrumentation help the album stand out from his previous releases, but his sharp, biting lyrics remain intact. Like all great singer-songwriter albums, it will make you think and, more importantly, make you feel.” Thanks, Pope. PunkNews.org has much more about Frank Turner, including a decent recent interview. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks ~ Mirror Traffic Oh, what could be finer than a clever as Sunday crosswords, tasty as pie, lap steel enhanced slice of Jicks-y goodness? The jangly Mirror Traffic feels like it belongs here at the end of summer. Malkmus has a core, dedicated following I never belonged to before, but I may now be a convert, as these recordings display a new simpatico for consonance and elegant variations (perhaps because Beck produced), heard in a hash of borrowings from classic Tom Petty, happy Lou Reed and (for something comparably new) similarly de-weirdified Dolorean. Kudos for kickin'-great drumming to one of the best of our time, Janet We i s s , e x - S l e a t e r Kinney, who has left the Jicks to join Wild Flag (see DTA April 2011). And if the many nifty touches —so plentiful th ey're i n d e sc ri b ab le— hadn't already snagged my attention, the strongly rhythmic lyrics make my eyes pop: “Tigers”: “Call me petty, I mean every word / The ands, the ifs, the buts 'n' the the's // … I'm the 1-800-You-Can-Vent”; “No One Is”: “I can bend the rules / with primitive tools / and stutters"; “Senator”: “The toxin's American made / Weapons-class sludge made for migrants //… I know what the senator
wants / What the senator wants is a blowjob." It's an album packed with lyrical ear candy. You're gonna wanna taste.
Discover State-of-the-Art Dance Tracks:: It'd be just soooo easy for me to dismiss the conventional view of “Gay” music with a single sweeping proclamation: “God, I just hate club tracks.” It'd be just that simple. Easy enough, but untrue. Sometimes. What's true is I'm bored by just about everything that people think of when they think of “club tracks” (formerly known as “disco”). Which leaves piles of fantastic stuff the mainstream discards. (Or ignores.) Sample this one song from an album not part of the club scene, music interesting enough to fall into for hours on end, accessible enough that only skinflints would deride it (which makes for a world of skinflints, it seems) from a decent band who perks up my ears: Stars ~ The Five Ghosts Stars' “We Don't Want Your Body” (from their 2010 album) faked me out. At the intro, the attention-grabbing shrill of a simple melody made hard, dissonant and synthetic pokes every contrarian bone in me to avoid the manipulative call of that noise and quickly back away. But rather than settle into a monotonous unimaginative lyric as I expected, Stars delivers a highly observant and opinionated inner monologue for a guy dreaming up an entire personality for a girl across the way. The cool twist is the song gives the girl her own internal monologue, indifferent and self-assured. It's a bit reminiscent of Human League's “Don't You Want Me,” but neither "Body"'s boy nor girl says a thing to the other. Her chorus tickles me: “You tune into my frequency / But that don't mean a thing to me / Cause I Don't Want Your Body / I Don't Want Your Body // Your soul is searching ecstasy / so you could have some sex with me / But I Don't Want Your Body.” And does she not want it because he's an ass or because she'd prefer her body? Stars kicks it up to 11 on their new pitchperfect video for "Body" with a gym-full of bodybuilders in great shape, two in particular standing in for our lead vocalists (see screenshots, left). At the start, the dude seems a bit too into comparing himself to the other dudes (hmm-m-m… ), and the introduction of women in the place seems almost token, but then the in-rhythm iron pumping turns into a not-too-strenuous, nottoo-campy dance routine. Weirdly, these coy glances and wink-implied passes are viewed by Pitchfork.com as “a sweaty visual in which two bodybuilders find love amid dumbbells. Bedroom eyes are cast. Choreographed hijinx ensue.” That's not what I see—you have to ignore the lyrics to convince yourself love enters the room—but if that's the story you want to tell yourself…. "Body" is the kind of track I wish dance club goers preferred. This much intelligence is usually banished, but if it wasn't, I'd feel like joining in more often. Dancing To Architecture™ contents ©2011 Bill Stella. All ©, ® & ™ items included in the column for review purposes are ©, ® & ™ their respective owners.
Page 12 CHALLENGE September 2011
10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked
By Evelyn Schlatter and Robert Steinback Myth #3: Why People Turn Gay (third in a series of ten)
Ever since born-again singer and orange juice pitchwoman Anita Bryant helped kick off the contemporary anti-gay movement more than 30 years ago, hard-line elements of the religious right have been searching for ways to demonize homosexuals — or, at a minimum, to find arguments that will prevent their normalization in society. For the former Florida beauty queen and her Save Our Children group, it was the alleged plans of gays and lesbians to “recruit” in schools that provided the fodder for their crusade. But in addition to hawking that myth, the legions of anti-gay activists who followed have added a panoply of others, ranging from the extremely doubtful claim that homosexuality is a choice, to unalloyed lies like the claims that gays molest children far more than heterosexuals or that hate crime laws will lead to the legalization of bestiality and necrophilia. These fairy tales are important to the anti-gay right because they form the basis of its claim that homosexuality is a social evil that must be suppressed — an opinion rejected by virtually all relevant medical and scientific authorities. They also almost certainly contribute to hate crime violence directed at homosexuals, who are more targeted for such attacks than any other minority in America. What follows [is one of] 10 key myths propagated by the anti-gay movement, along with the truth behind the propaganda.
MYTH #3: People become homosexual because they were sexually abused as children or there was a deficiency in sex-role modeling by their parents. THE ARGUMENT: Many anti-gay rights proponents claim that homosexuality is a mental disorder caused by some psychological trauma or aberration in childhood. This argument is used to counter the common observation that no one, gay or straight, consciously chooses his or her sexual orientation. Joseph Nicolosi, a founder of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, said in 2009 that “if you traumatize a child in a particular way, you will create a homosexual condition.” He also has repeatedly said, “Fathers, if you don’t hug your sons, some other man will.” A side effect of this argument is the demonization of parents of homosexuals, who are led to wonder if they failed to protect a child against sexual abuse or failed as role models in some important way. In October 2010, Kansas State University family studies professor Walter Schumm said he was about to release a related study arguing that homosexual couples are more likely than heterosexuals to raise gay or lesbian children. THE FACTS: No scientifically sound study has linked sexual orientation or identity with parental role-modeling or childhood sexual abuse. The American Psychiatric Association noted in a 2000 fact
sheet on gay, lesbian and bisexual issues that “no specific psychosocial or family dynamic cause for homosexuality has been identified, including histories of childhood sexual abuse.” The fact sheet goes on to say that sexual abuse does not appear to be any more prevalent among children who grow up and identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual than in children who grow up and identify as heterosexual. Similarly, the National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization notes on its website that “experts in the human sexuality field do not believe that premature sexual experiences play a significant role in late adolescent or adult sexual orientation” and added that it’s unlikely that someone can make another person a homosexual or heterosexual. With regard to Schumm’s study, critics have already said that he appears to have merely aggregated anecdotal data, a biased sample that invalidates his findings. (Reprinted, with permission, from Intelligence Report, Winter 2010, produced by the Southern Poverty Law Center. www.splcenter.org)
(continued from page 9) A rise in syphilis cases in the United States is especially pronounced among younger black and Hispanic men who have sex with men, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The syphilis rate among gay and bisexual black men is rising eight times faster than among whites, with many new cases involving men who met their sexual partners online. (Reuters) A man who shouted the words “dyke” and “bitches” as he and another man assaulted five lesbians outside a Metro station was released by District of Columbia police officers after they apprehended him at the scene. The officers re-
fused to take a report of the incident, ignoring the women’s repeated requests to do so. An officer assigned to the D.C. police Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit did make a report of the incident three days later, listing the incident as an anti-gay hate crime. (Washington Blade) Rudolf Brazda, the last known survivor of homosexual deportation in the Third Reich, died at the age of 98 at his home in Alsace, France. Mr. Brazda spent three years at Buchenwald concentration camp, from 1942 to 1945. (Yagg.com)
September 2011 CHALLENGE Page 13
Summer is the Purrrrr-fect Time to Adopt a New Feline Friend!
Visit www.ehrdogs.org to learn more about the many beautiful cats that are available through Eleventh Hour Rescue.
Page 14 CHALLENGE September 2011
GAY ACTIVIST ALLIANCE IN MORRIS COUNTY
Officers President (President @ GAAMC.org) — Mickey Suiter VP Community Services (Info @ GAAMC.org) — Open VP Operations — Open Secretary (Secretary @ GAAMC.org) — Gordon Sauer Treasurer (Treasurer @ GAAMC.org) — Andy Skurna Trustees Kerry Dinkin, Claire Pompei, Mitch Rubin, Ed Schell, Bill Realman Stella, Alexa Vasios Trustees Emeriti Sue Harris, Sherri Rase, Robin Schneider, Mark Wydner Committee Chairs Activism — Gordon Sauer (Activism @ GAAMC.org) Archives — Mickey Suiter (Archives @ GAAMC.org) Discussion Group Resources — Gordon Sauer (Discussions @ GAAMC.org) Fundraising — Andy Skurna (Fundraising @ GAAMC.org) Information — Mitch Rubin (FreeLibrary @ GAAMC.org) Member Services/Front Desk — Allen Neuner Membership — Andy Skurna (Memberships @ GAAMC.org) Pride Guide — Andy Skurna (PrideGuide @ GAAMC.org) Programs — Sherri Rase (Programs @ GAAMC.org) Public Relations — Sherri Rase (Info @ GAAMC.org) Socials — Charlie Murphy (Socials @ GAAMC.org) Speakers Bureau — Chris Selitto (SpeakersBureau @ GAAMC.org) Volunteerism — Sherri Rase (Volunteer @ GAAMC.org) Webmaster (inc. Facebook, Issuu, Yahoo!) — Andy Skurna (Webmaster @ GAAMC.org)
GAAMC, the Gay Activist Alliance in Morris County, has served New Jersey’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and intersexed community since 1972. GAAMC is a not-forprofit volunteer-run organization that provides social, educational, and outreach programs. GAAMC also offers opportunities for individuals to become politically active on issues related to the GLBTI community. Our intent is to maintain a positive, healthy, respectful, and supportive environment in a safe space. Meetings are held every Monday evening at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Rd., Morristown, NJ (near the Morris Museum). Discussion groups usually meet from 7:00 to 8:00. The evening's program usually starts at 8:00 pm. Refreshments are available. For program information, call our information line or check our homepage (see below). Members and non-members are always welcome. Annual membership dues are: Regular, $40/single, $70/ couple; Students/Seniors, $30/single, $60/couple. Those looking to help out at GAAMC can contact the Volunteer Coordinator, Sherri Rase, at Volunteer @ GAAMC.org. How to reach GAAMC Mail: PO Box 137, Convent Station, NJ 07961 Telephone: 973-285-1595 E-Mail: info @ gaamc.org Home page: http://www.gaamc.org Mail List: http://groups.yahoo.com/subscribe/gaamc Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gaamc Challenge online edition: issuu.com/gaamc
PREVIEWS OF COMING ATTRACTIONS! September 12th GAAMC's 39th Anniversary
September 19th $1.98 Beauty Pageant
GAAMC Film Festival See "GAAMC Events", page 2, for more details!