maineâ€™s gbltq community & you | fall 2012
comingout party How soon will the pro-athlete floodgates open? _by Anthony Giampetruzzi | p 4
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4 out in maine | fall 2012
Coming-out party How soon will tHe pro-atHlete floodgates open? _by An th o n y G i Am p et r u zzi
It’s been nearly six years since Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban famously said that the first NBA player who announces that he is gay, during his career as a pro athlete, will become very, very wealthy. Praising former NBA player John Amaechi for coming out after leaving the league, Cuban told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “if you’re a player who happens to be g ay and you want to be incredibly rich, then you should come out, because it would be the best thing that ever happened to you from a marketing and an endorsement perspective. . . . You would be an absolute hero to more Americans than you can ever possibly be as an athlete, and that’ll put money in your pocket.” To date, no active professional male basketball player — and just one male pro athlete, boxer Orlando Cruz — has cashed in while on the job. (Cruz just came out publicly in early October, so it’s still unclear whether his payday will arrive.) Gay sports fans, out-gay college athletes, and other pro-gay sports professionals are frustrated by the fact that a seismic shift in attitude towards gays in general is not translating to pro athletics, a realm, for many, that just might be the final frontier for full equality. To be sure, there’s never been so much momentum behind pro-equality for the LGBT community. Since Cuban’s comments, five US states, the District of Columbia, and two Native American tribes have legalized gay marriage; “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been repealed; and over 50,000 “It Gets Better” usergenerated videos in support of anti-bullying initiatives for LGBT youth have been created. Just about everyone with cred and conscience, from President Obama on down, has taken the time to talk about why bullying needs to end. And that’s all stuff that’s happening away from the court. Just last month, screws were put to the commissioners of the NBA, NFL, NHL, Major League Soccer, and Major League Baseball when a letter-writing campaign, the Last Closet, called
on them to pledge their support for players to come out. According to The Advocate, to date those leaders have remained mum despite the fact that the NFL and MLB already prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. A handful of sports heroes have come out after retirement: Billy Bean, Doug Kopay, Wade Davis. And, last month, Kevin McClatchy, the former owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, joined a short list of pro-athlete leaders who have revealed, after retirement, that they are gay. Too little too late, say some observers. “That silence is a sobering, crucial reminder that for all the recent progress toward same-sex marriage and all the gay and lesbian characters popping up on television, there remains, in some quarters, a powerful stigma attached to homosexuality,” wrote New York Times columnist Frank Bruni on the fact that no male pro athlete has come out. He adds: “pro sports offers a frontier on which there’s considerable good to be done . . . if its heroes make clear that being gay is O.K., the impact could be profound.” Bruni’s op/ed was in response to McClatchy telling the Times: ”I’m sure people will criticize me because I came out later, and I should have come out while I was in baseball and in the thick of it. I could find excuses for why not to do this article until I’m blue in the face.” McClatchy’s announcement was at Continued on p 6
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Continued from p 4
least timely, feeding into a sudden swirl of media on the subject. Just a few days prior, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who last year appeared in a pro-gay marriage ad in Maryland, re-upped his support for the gay community when he donated two Ravens tickets for a marriage-equality fundraiser. The gesture would have likely gone unnoticed had not Baltimore County Delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr. followed-up with a letter to Ravens owner Steven Disciotti demanding that Ayanbadejo be “ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions” because “Mr. Ayanbadejo should concentrate on football and steer clear of dividing the fan base.” Most people, including fellow football players and assorted other bigwigs, disagreed and the football community began to weigh in. Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe submitted a response to Burns through deadspin. com: “Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level.” Dominique Foxworth, president of the NFL Players Association, echoed Kluwe’s sentiment in the Baltimore Sun: “I don’t know if I can come up with a strong enough word, but his request was asinine.” He went on to praise Kluwe, Ayanbadejo’s teammates, and Ravens fans for their support of Ayanbadejo.” “It turned a bad situation into a momentous, game-changing occasion for NFL athletes,” Ayanbadejo told Bleacher Report. “In a sport ruled by machismo, it was a changing of the guard that I’ve been waiting to hear since I stated my support for this cause in 2008.” It also got people wondering if the pro-gay sentiment would translate to the nudge a closeted pro athlete might need to come out. Cyd Zeigler, the founder of outsports. com, thinks so. “Men like Kluwe are becoming the norm, not the exception, “ Zeigler wrote on September 11.”The pro sports world has transformed. Gone are the days when athletes need to hide their sexual orientation. A world in which teammates exclude a gay athlete is behind us. What we need now is one athlete to come out . . . A big coming out party. And it’ll be fun.” “At this point, I’m actually getting impatient, like, let’s go already. With everything that’s
orlando cruz, a pro boxer, came out in early october, at age 24. it’s a striking move in a very macho sport, and may help pave the way for others to follow suit. happening on the surface in professional sports, I just feel like it’s time (for a male pro athlete to come out),” says Ben Chadwick, a recent graduate of Bowdoin College, where he served as the openly gay captain of his lacrosse team. “Change is happening very fast with my generation, and attitudes are changing very rapidly.” And, if you believe some recent polling, Chadwick’s generation, right here at colleges in Maine, is making remarkable in-roads in what is likely the trickling up of the future acceptance of openly gay men in the world of pro sports.
Bates College in Lewiston and Bowdoin College in Brunswick are very close to the top of just about every list that rates small liberal-arts colleges. However, little has been made of a recent study that put both colleges among the LGBT-friendly Top Ten List for College Athletics, a scorecard compiled by Compete Magazine and Campus Pride, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for LGBT and ally college students and campus groups. “Schools like Bowdoin and Bates have tried to do a lot of stuff on campus to try to shift the culture and to encourage athletes to create a different culture,” says Kate Stern, the director of Bowdoin’s Resource
Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity. “I’d say in just the past five years the culture has changed in a really good way.” Both Bates and Bowdoin have undertaken exhaustive programming to teach everyone from administrators to coaches to gay athletes and their straight counterparts how to dismantle homophobia in sports. And those on campus agree that while attitudes being fostered among student athletes may trickle up to pro athletics some day, it’s a trickling down of acceptance, from administration and coaches, that makes the difference on campus. Colin Joyner, who graduated from Bowdoin in 2003, helped Stern build Anything But Straight in Athletics in 2009 when he returned to the school after a stint as a semi-pro tennis player. He became what many regarded as the only out male coach in the country at the time. The group consisted of both out and closeted athletes as well as straight allies, and worked with other campus groups to bring guest speakers, such as pro-gay former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke, to campus. Joyner notes that Bowdoin has changed dramatically since he graduated: he was sorta out during his years as a student when he racked up three AllAmerican tennis titles, played number one singles all four years, and was named Male Athlete of the Year during his senior year. He went right back into the closet when he started as a semi-pro postBowdoin. It wasn’t until he returned that he truly understood how critical role models are in fostering an atmosphere that makes it okay to be out on the field or court. ”In many ways, coaches and athletic directors are all-powerful, they can change the playing field, so to speak, and they are doing that at Bates and Bowdoin,” says Joyner. “Things change over time, but I think this is one of the reasons that things may move slowly at other schools and why we are seeing a slow shift at the top.” Kevin McHugh, the director of athletics at Bates, agrees. Last year, he helped organize the school’s first ever campus-wide Athlete Ally pledgesigning event, which encourages all members of the athletic community to promote the best of athletics and commit to making all players — LGBT and straight — feel respected on and off the field. The pledge was the brainchild of Athlete Ally founder, Hudson Taylor, a three-time NCAA All-American wrestler from the University of Maryland and currently an assistant wrestling coach at Columbia University. “The initial reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Students, coaches, and administration came to the event, which generated some pretty good buzz around the issue of homophobia particularly in sports,” says McHugh, adding that a follow-up pledge-signing event last fall yielded more than 1000 student, faculty, and staff signatures in just one day. Another pledge-signing event is scheduled in the coming weeks. “I think for (Bates) athletics to take on the issue was sort of a surprise, but also very gratifying. We are taking the lead on campus and trying to create an atmosphere of more discussion, more visibility and more support,” McHugh says. For instance, this summer, as many as 13 Bates coaches attended a Safe Spaces training — willingly. “These are the things that make Bates at the top of the Campus Pride list, and that’s a great thing. It’s very positive and comforting to know that my college, as an entity, supports me,” says Travis Jones, a senior who is the openly gay captain of the Bates swimming and diving team. Continued on p 8
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8 out in maine | fall 2012
Ben Chadwick (left)
Continued from p 6
Jones admits, though, that age-old stereotypes persist, particularly when it comes to things like the locker room. “It’s always on your mind to navigate the locker room, to make it a comfortable place for all players, and you’re always conscious of averting your gaze and to never seem like you are checking out your teammates,” says Jones. “It’s stressful. Personally I’ve always tried to keep my personal life away from my sport. I made a decision to never perceive my teammates as anything other than teammates and friends. But, it’s definitely an issue.” Perhaps a fading one, though. In the Times article about McClatchy’s coming out, Chris Kluwe said of the locker room stigma: “That assumes that a gay person in the locker room is going to find you attractive, which I think is pretty narcissistic. Isn’t that the shallowest kind of thinking: that all of a sudden if a gay guy comes out, he’s going be staring at you?” Then there are those who simply believe that, as an athlete, you are an athlete first and gay second. Long Island University doctoral student Truett Lee Vaigneur Jr., who is prepping to release the short documentary
The University Pool and who is completing his dissertation, “Self Identification of Gay Male College Athletes,” reminds that being a college athlete is “a very big job that takes a lot of time.” “We may think that gay athletes don’t come out during college or they might not start living their lifestyle to their fullest because they feel that they can’t because they are gay. Well, that may not be the case; they may just have identified more with their athleticism,” says Vaigneur. “It’s really quite liberating if you consider it that way, because it is giving gay men the option to say, ‘I just want to be an athlete for the time being, and while I’m in college that’s my focus.’ I don’t think that they are in any way taking a step backward and just lending themselves to the status quo; they are just being students with the right to identify with whatever they want to identify with.” Stern is among those who disagree. ”Very often, ‘I’m too busy’ is used as protection from the fact that it’s just a hard thing to do,” she says. “It’s hard to be a pioneer, it’s hard to be the first one out on the team.”
some people say athletes identify first with their sport, and only in a secondary way with their sexual identity...
That was the case for Chadwick, who was out during high school, but who had to navigate the politics of being a gay athlete at Bowdoin before going all in. He says, of course, when you’re on the field, you are there to win and you identify first as an athlete. But that competitive instinct doesn’t spill over into your other campus pursuits. “When I was at practice or on the field, I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I’m gay, I was concerned with winning. But, there is a culture off the field where you want to be out because it helps the whole environment, and that’s where it becomes a factor,” he explains. “My lacrosse friends really were my best friends at school, and I was with them all the time — dining, classes, studying. And they were my roommates. When you are with people all the time, you need to address who and what you are to feel comfortable in order to feel like you can be an athlete who is gay.” Besides, says Chadwick, how will the needle ever move for those who can’t reconcile their sexuality with their love of sports if that adjective “gay” doesn’t precede the word “athlete?” You need other out athletes to look up to, he says, and his inspiration was Andrew Goldstein, a Dartmouth College lacrosse player who came out as openly gay at school in 2004 and then went on to be drafted by the Boston Cannons in 2005, making him what ESPN called ”the most accomplished male, teamsport athlete in North America to be openly gay during his playing career.” “I remember seeing that story on TV and how it Continued on p 10
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Moving toleranCe upwards
Continued from p 8
changed my life,” says Chadwick. “I realized then that I can be gay and I can be an athlete. Those were the types of things that really helped me, seeing other athletes who were openly gay.” He adds that, it was those types of things that helped change the opinions of his future teammates as well. Today’s Bowdoin lacrosse team captain, senior Mark Rosner, is picking up where Joyner and Chadwick left off. “The truth is, whether or not someone is gay doesn’t matter — the biggest thing here is winning. So, if you can kick a ball really far or throw a ball really fast, we want you,” says Rosner, a Brunswick native who is working with Stern to actively recruit straight male athletes for Bowdoin’s Out Ally Program. He says that the effort has been “overwhelmingly positive.” “We (straight allies) are growing in numbers, and it shows that there are a lot of people who support the cause. (Straight athletes) don’t necessarily need to be prodded as much as they need to be reminded that this is a vital part of how Bowdoin functions and a really important part of how our athletic department works,” he says. “I’ve found that these guys want to be involved, they just sometimes don’t want to do it on their own.” In many cases, he says, they also want the support of their coaches because, when you’re on campus, the trickle down effect “is huge.” He says they do have that support at Bowdoin. “And it’s made a huge impact.”
andrew goldstein, who came out while a lacrosse star at dartmouth and was later drafted as a pro, inspired ben chadwick and his teammates.
With the coming-out of McClatchy, the call to action by the Last Closet, and the reaction to Ayanbadejo’s auction donation, September was indeed a banner month for dialogue on the issue of gay pro athletes. To top it all off that month, Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was kicked out of three games for wearing anti-gay eye-black patches, prompting the Globe and Mail’s Jeff Blair to call for a coming-out party: “Just as a homophobic slur doesn’t mean the individual is a gay-bashing homophobe, a person who doesn’t run around calling people an offensive term, or writing homophobic slurs on his uniform, doesn’t necessarily have a rainbow flag hanging in the locker. You can go to the website Outsports. com and get a list of “gay-friendly” athletes who have publicly supported the cause of gay rights, and that’s good. But it’s only a start,” he wrote. He concluded: “But until the first active, professional athlete presents himself as being gay, freeing others while drawing out those who will stand shoulder to shoulder with them during the tough times, the process can’t begin. Until that happens, yesterday’s epithet cannot become tomorrow’s teammate. It will take a big man with uncommon fortitude. He better have game, too.” Joyner believes that the glass ceiling has been raised, although his perception of just how high has been colored by a recent move to Duke University to pursue an MBA. Duke, he says, and other Division One schools like it, differ from Bowdoin or Bates in that coaches and administration are watching the money; he believes that these proContinued on p 12
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Continued from p 10
athlete factories lag behind his alma mater in terms of pro-gay sentiment, and they are where the rubber needs to meet the road if a graduate to the big leagues is to eventually come out. “You have a very strong conservative base of alumni and fans who come to Duke basketball games and other events who may take issue with stepping up rhetoric around these issues.” So, they remain very quiet about it, he says, adding that coaches at some schools might be more reticent to make LGBT awareness a priority. ”Think of all the career, legendary coaches out there who have been in it for years and years and lauded for their winning record. And, you have the same thing with university presidents and athletic directors, people in power hold influence for a long time and don’t want to ruffle feathers,” he says. “So things move much slower, even if sentiment among the culture at large has shifted dramatically.” Nearly everyone agrees that coaches, team owners, and commissioners play a critical role in changing the environment, even if individual players, fans, and the community at large continue to care less and less about someone’s sexuality. Hudson Taylor, 25 and straight, started wrestling when he was six, and he grew up in an athletic culture where homophobic language is commonplace. He, in fact, participated in it. That changed, however, when he became a theater major at the University of Maryland. “I started to have friends who were coming out, and seeing them take that personal step of being truer to themselves, and juxtaposing that with the
at bigger institutions, where sports and money are closely tied, coaches and other school leaders can be slower to support gay athletes.
derogatory language that I experienced in the locker room raised my consciousness that I was in a unique position to do something about it,” he explains. He says that his foray into activism took off when he was training to win a national title and he slapped a Human Rights Campaign sticker on his helmet as a statement of support to the gay community. “I got about 2000 emails from closeted kids across the country and that was the moment that I realized, that if a college wrestler can get 2000 emails for speaking out as an ally, then maybe I can get a football player or a coach or a university to join this movement, and the impact will be longlasting.” Taylor, who is now a wrestling coach at Columbia University, founded Athlete Ally two years ago to confront the marginalization of LGBT athletes, coaches, and others. Not surprisingly, he has become a very busy guy, touring campuses for speaking engagements and encouraging students to sign the Ally Pledge. Taylor is pleased with the reception he gets on campuses like Bates, and he believes that momentum is building quickly toward more male pro athletes follow in Orlando Cruz’s footsteps. “If you’ve been paying attention, I think you can see that things are accelerating at a wonderful rate. We are reaching a tipping point and it’s only a matter of time before people are coming out,” says Taylor. “One of my greatest challenges is to make athletes and coaches understand that it doesn’t matter whether you’re tall or short or gay or straight. If you can throw the ball the farthest and run the fastest, you should be able to play — openly.” ^
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“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word ‘love’ here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being,or a state of grace— not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.” James Baldwin We remember November 2009, and all that came before, and know we are on the right side of history. We can’t wait to start celebrating this November
14 out in maine | fall 2012
The man who’s coming back Rufus WainWRight on family, touRing, and the beauty of maine _by An th o n y G i Am p et r u zzi
Rufus Wainwright deserves a round of applause. On the musical front, the 39-year-old has enjoyed phenomenal success despite a roller-coaster personal life, rife with some pretty harrowing free falls. Born in Rhinebeck, New York, to folk singers Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III, he came out at a very young age to the not-so-accepting pair. When he was 14, he was sexually assaulted after a run-in with a hook-up in London, an incident he only narrowly survived. He went on to immerse himself in music, and his self-titled first album was released in 1998 to critical acclaim. The follow-up, Poses, also garnered accolades. But soon after its release, he became severely addicted to crystal meth. After some bizarre episodes, he kicked the habit, and by the mid-2000s he was clean and back in the zone of recording and touring. Of note: in 2008, he recreated, in minute detail, Judy Garland’s landmark 1961 Carnegie Hall concert to the delight of critics but to the joy of only one of Garland’s daughters: Liza Minnelli is still miffed by the incident, while lesser known Lorna Luft appeared in the concert and on the album. The last two years have perhaps been Wainwright’s most dramatic: he suffered the death of his mother, celebrated the birth of his daughter, Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen (the mom is Lorca Cohen, daughter of Leonard), and, although a former critic of gay marriage, he relished becoming engaged to his partner Jorn Weisbrodt. His most recent album, Out of the Game, is a triumphant return to pop without being, well, too poppy. It has hints of Elton John, Harry Nilsson, and Steely Dan. “We were both born in the ’70s and that’s the first music that we heard,” says Wainwright of himself and his collaborator (and celebrated producer) Mark Ronson. ”I think it kind of gives us a right to pull from that, because our generation really was the last one that was actually there.” And, it’s just fun, reflecting his most recent life experiences while retaining his trademark narrative style. Wainwright appeared in Portland only three weeks before tying the knot. But, for those who missed it, he’ll be back in New England at The Music Hall in Portsmouth on October 24. And, it may be a long time before Wainwright comes back around: he’s ready for some quality time with Viva, Jorn, and his pen as he turns to his new professional passions: writing opera and setting Shakespeare sonnets to music.
baRRy j h olmes
sportinG A rinG The new Rufus.
The big news abouT Rufus wainwRighT These days is ThaT he’s maRRied. you weRe pRacTically beaming aT youR RecenT poRTland show, which was only ThRee weeks befoRe The nupTials. do you feel like a diffeRenT man? Yeah! I’m definitely in a different state than I was before I got married. Mainly in that I can get as angry as I want, as sad as I want, as happy or funny as I want, and nothing’s a deal breaker. Well, unless we call in the lawyers. Being married give you that little extra padding to be who you want to be, because you’re not having to worry about whether someone’s gonna stick around or not — it’s just kind of a given. So, yes, it’s a wonderful cushion to have. As you Acknowledged At your show, MAine will be voting on gAy MArriAge AgAin in noveMber. i reMeMber An interview we did About eight yeArs Ago when you sAid thAt you didn’t cAre so Much for gAy MArriAge, thAt Continued on p 16
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16 out in maine | fall 2012
Continued from p 14
it wAs A distrAction. whAt chAnged? Well, a couple things. One is that friend of mine was celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary, and I asked her if she thought that she would be married to her husband this long. She then turned to me and said, “Rufus, when you get married it’s forever, that’s the whole idea.” It kind of struck me that I had never grasped that philosophy, there was no kind of space in my brain that works in that “forever” way. So, I decided it would be nice to think of. And, then I had a child . . . thAt wAs going to be My next question — you’ve MAde A lot of “forever” decisions lAtely. Yep. I had a child and Jorn is not biologically related to that child, so I wanted him to be very involved in the process. I also want Viva to really admire him as a parental figure. Getting married is a legal way of making it happen and the way to set a certain structure.
I do with this long-term relationship? And, these were all very shocking adult feelings. But, I’ve come out on the other end of them now and I’ve survived, and I’m having fun and I’m happy. It’s definitely a celebration in the end. do you hAve A fAvorite cut froM the AlbuM? An interesting song that was rediscovered for the album is “Perfect Man,” and I enjoy singing it every night because it’s such an odd tune, and it has so many twists and turns. It also reminds me of my youth, which is always fun to think about. And, for a new song, I like “Sometimes You Need” because it very much explains how I was feeling when my mother was passing away. There’s a sadness in that song that only death can deliver.
the title of his new album suggests what rufus says you’re on the roAd A lot — it Must outright: be increAsingly difficult to tour with A MAn And A child At hoMe. he’ll be It is, and I don’t intend to tour touring as much as I used to. This is a bit a last hurrah for me because I less. so see ofwant to spend more time with my daughter. I want to write more him now! operas and, in order to do that,
i iMAgine thAt All these life decisions influenced your new AlbuM which, in true rufus forM, is Another one-of-A-kind. I think this album is sort of an explosion of a lot of long-lasting questions that I’ve had over the years. You know, what do I do after my mother dies? What do I do when I have a child? What do
you really need to be in one place.
you’ve done operAs, A full-on re-enActMent of Judy gArlAnd’s cArnegie hAll concert, And tons of other speciAl proJects. you Are by fAr our generAtion’s
renAissAnce MAn of Music. Well, in terms of opera, I’m definitely branching out into that world, and it now, thank god, is kind of sucking me in. I don’t know how much you all are going to see me on the road anymore, so come to the shows! getting bAck to the Judy proJect, i’M curious why, of All the songs you could hAve sung froM her cArnegie hAll line-up in portlAnd, you chose “the MAn thAt got AwAy” — it seeMs like it hAs nothing to do with your current stAte of Mind. Well, if you remember, I made a joke beforehand where I dedicated it to Liza (Minnelli) and renamed it “The Bitch That Got Away” because she has been so hideous. But, you know, it could be about another love object I had. Or it could be about my father, whom I’ve had difficulty with in the past. It’s Freudian. up for interpretAtion. when you were in portlAnd in July, people were going nuts on fAcebook And twitter with rufus sightings for At leAst couple dAys. do you hAve A speciAl Affinity for the AreA? I had an amazing time when I was there. I had lunch with Glenn Close which was amazing. our resident superstAr. how did you end up lunching with her? I did a movie with her, Heights, one of my only acting roles. And I got to hang out at her house down on that point where Winslow Homer used to paint. prouts neck. Yes! That’s one of the most beautiful spots in the world. It was a very, very fulfilling trip. And, you’re bAck to new englAnd on october 24 in portsMouth. Yes! I can’t wait. ^
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18 out in maine | fall 2012
Progressives rock! IndIe band fun. come to town for a good cause _by An th o n y G i Am p et r u zzi
Admit it: you love the catchy little tune “We Are Young” even though it’s been in heavy rotation on every pop and alternative radio station for over a year; even though it’s been performed on just about every variety and talk show in the extended cable line-up; and even though it’s been featured prominently on shows like Glee, Gossip Girl, 90210, and in commercials for Apple and Chevrolet. After its release in September 2011, it even became the first alternative song to hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart since Coldplay‘s “Viva la Vida.” And, last April, it made digital history when it became the first, and at that time only, song to ever gain more than 300,000 downloads for seven weeks in a row. The masterminds behind “We Are Young” (on Some Nights, the sophomore album whose title track is also a big hit) are a band known simply as fun. — all lowercase, with a period. And, the three guys who make up fun. are just as deliciously peculiar as the fresh indie pop/alternative sound they create. “None of us have ever felt like anything but outcasts our entire lives,” says Jack Antonoff, who toggles between the band’s guitar and drums, “And I know that’s something that has resonated with fun. fans. They are the same people as us — kids who latched onto a specific music scene because it couldn’t define them.” It’s fitting, then, that they (Nate Ruess, lead singer, Andrew Dost, piano, and Antonoff) have chosen Portland to kick off their Campus Consciousness Tour at the State Theatre on October 31. The tour, sponsored by Ben & Jerry’s and Portlandbased Reverb, is aimed at educating and mobilizing students to take positive action for LGBTQ equality. The show in Maine, which will benefit Mainers United for Marriage, sold out in the blink of an eye. “fun. really has no real relationship with Portland, but when we were talking about our involvement in the issue of equality and raising awareness, it seemed like a pretty obvious choice given what’s happening there right now,” Antonoff told Out in Maine. While the three lead band members are all straight (and former punk and hard-core musicians at that), this is the second year in a row that they have headlined the Campus Consciousness Tour, which is billed as “a concert and social cause campaign.” This year, however, the band’s high profile, with the success of their album, their first European tour, and dozens of TV and personal appearances, will likely help them broadcast their message even louder. “There are downsides to everything, and definitely
DreSSinG For SuCCeSS the boys of fun.
‘NoNe of us have ever felt like aNythiNg but outcasts our eNtire lives,’ says fuN.’s jack aNtoNoff.
an intensity to all the attention we’re getting, but nothing compares to having a live audience to speak to at a time in history when there needs to be a lot of talking,” says Antonoff. “I feel very, very lucky to be here in this moment when there are a lot of people who are listening.” It’s not just a message of equality that the band hope to achieve; they also hope that their unique sound and the attention that it’s garnering marks a shift in the appetite of music lovers. “I think it’s always easier to answer the question of whether or not you hope you’re changing what people are listening to with, ‘oh, no, we’re just doing what we do, and we’re glad a lot of people like us.’ But that wouldn’t be the truth. I certainly hope the scene is changing,” Antonoff enthuses. “We had very big goals when we set out, and now we’re achieving some of those things. We’re one of the first alternative bands to be doing something really different on the radio in a really long time and we’re proud of that. “Whether it’s true or not, we think we’re part of something really important and something that’s changing.” ^
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The Rocky Horror Show - LIVE!
Don’t dream it – BE IT!!! Pre-Shows / Costume Contests / Come Dressed Up / Audience Participation and Call-Backs Encouraged Created by Richard O’Brien, this homage to the horror film is as ‘sexy and funny as ever!’ BE WARNED: THIS SHOW HAS RUDE PARTS!
10/6 @12am 10/12 @ 12am 10/13 @ 8pm & 12:00am 10/19 @ 12am 10/20 @ 12am
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GIVE YOURSELF OVER TO ABSOLUTE PLEASURE OVER AT THE FRANKENSTEIN PLACE with Our Theatre Company this Halloween. Come get your freak on and be a part of our new annual tradition. Rocky Horror Virgins: BEWARE!!
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20 out in maine | fall 2012
Real dRamatic laughs Telly Nelly oN The upComiNg seAsoN _by Na te t o w Ne
Hey there TV couch potatoes, it’s wonderful to address you again. It’s been far too long! I’d love to go on and on about myself, but we really don’t have the time or space for that now, do we? I’m a rambler! Plus, you’re here to read all about what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to the fall 2012 TV lineup — while we’re a little late to the game, we’re still swinging for the fences! Good god, a sports metaphor? Who am I? Set those DVRs to “stun” and let’s get right to the good stuff, baby.
Such the Drama
NASHVILLE, ABC Look, I know what you’re thinking — but Nashville isn’t just for country lovers. It’s actually one of the best dramas in the fall lineup, and it’s a musical drama at that. Classy? Not so much. Entertaining? Heavens yes. This new series stars Connie Britton (American Horror Story, Spin City, Ellen) as Rayna James, a legendary country music superstar whose star is fading, and Hayden Panettiere (Heroes) as the Slutty McSlutcakes Juliette Barnes, an up-and-coming teen star with boobage up to her perfectly white teeth. When James’s producers offer her a joint tour with Barnes, she jumps at the chance to revive her career. Drama ensues. Delicious girl-on-girl drama — the best kind! Everybody who is anybody (that’s me!) is talking about this show — it’s one of ABC’s best. #BitchFest
THE NEW NORMAL, NBC No, I’m not writing about this show just because I’m a grade A faggot, which of course I am. I’m writing about this show because it’s slim pickin’s out there this season for entertaining new comedies, my pretty pretties. (THE MINDY PROJECT on Fox being the exception to the rule.) But I digress! We’re talking about gays talking about babies! Since this show has already aired, you might have watched. Good for you! You can stop reading now and move on to your horoscope. If not, here’s the scoop. Bryan and David are the gayest of couples. They live in a fabulous LA crib, have successful careers, and feel pretty and witty and gay. The only thing missing in their relationship (besides a healthy dose of reality) is a baby. Searching for a surrogate mother, they meet Goldie, a waitress who has moved to LA with her eight-year-old daughter Shania, and Goldie’s gun-slinging, Lean Cuisine-munching grandmother Nana (who is a lot like Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development) hot on
i live, love, and exist for the supporting cast [of the new normal], including ellen Barkin and nene leakes. hilarity ensues in this search for a surrogate mother in the wilds of los angeles.
their trail. Hilarity ensues. Let me get this off my buffed and bodacious bust first: I don’t particularly care for the two gay leads, especially Andrew “Lady Pants” Rannells (The Book of Mormon), who plays the stereotypically effete Bryan, much to my dismay. But I live, love, and exist for the supporting cast which includes Ellen Barkin (Diner, Switch) as Nana and NeNe Leakes (Glee, The Real Housewives) as Bryan’s feisty assistant. I approached this show with great trepidation, but was quickly won over by Nana — she had me at #AssCampers.
RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE ALL STARS, logo I know what
you’re thinking. Drag queens? RuPaul? Really Telly Nelly, really? Oh ye of little faith. This is perhaps one of the best reality shows ever dreamed up, and this year it’s an all-star competition, meaning all the very best drag wanna-bes from past years will be competing for the crown. Not only are the drag queens outrageously, well, outrageous — the judging panel is jammed-full of B-list celebrities scampering for a taste of their lost and dusty fame. I still get quivery shivers whenever RuPaul quips “Lipsynch for your life.” Don’t be a bigot — watch the premiere on October 22. #JesusWould
Continued on p 22
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22 out in maine | fall 2012
RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars
Continued from p 20
PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES, All NeTWoRKs I admit it, I’m not into politics. In fact, I avoid it like the plague. (Before you judge, I do vote, mind you — I’m a hot ’n’ tasty bastion of civic responsibility, oh yes I am!) However, I do enjoy a nice, spicy verbal sparring, which is why I’m oh-so-excited for the upcoming presidential debates. They are sure to be quite entertaining — and informative I suppose, for those who care about such things. Plus they’ll feed the media beast for weeks upon end, and if you don’t watch, you won’t get the references in Conan O’Brien’s jokes. Now that would be a shame, wouldn’t it? He’s full of ginger goodness! My favorite of the three debates is the town-meeting format debate on October 16, where citizens just like you and me (but far less attractive and witty) pepper the candidates with questions on foreign and domestic issues. Another plus: this debate is moderated by Candy Crowley from CNN. Not only is this pumpkin-faced pundit named after my favorite food group, she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to all things political. Unlike me. #GoAmerica!
What not to Watch
And finally, what TV critique would be complete without a come-to-Jesus moment about the shows you must avoid as if they were the plague. So here’s my list of the worst of the worst — all of which will likely be cancelled so you won’t even notice. Yes, I’m that good. MALIBU COUNTRY, ABC You may want to watch for Lily Tomlin. If you have no taste, perhaps Reba McEntire. But you shouldn’t watch this sitcom; it’s the TV equivalent of staring into the sun: it burns! Don’t feed the beasties with your poison, poison ratings! This is gonna be a train wreck of a show, mark my words. So what’s the deal? Squandered star-power my pretty little ducks, pure and simple. More suited to Nickelodeon than ABC, the plot centers on a sassy country singer named Reba Gallagher (guess who plays her?), a divorced mother of three who moves to Malibu to restart her music career. Jai Rodriquez (the petite gay on Queer
Eye for the Straight Guy who never did anything) plays her new agent, with less-than-hilarious results. Yuck City, look away! But if you must watch (don’t say I didn’t warn you) this nuclear meltdown premieres November 2. I expect you’ll enjoy the political ads far more than the programming that’s sandwiched in between. Oh Reba. #ItHurts SAVE ME, NBC This is my runner-up, must-avoidat-all-costs show. It’s a comedy starring renowned Ellen-ex whackadoodle Anne “Celestia” Heche as Beth Waring, a desperate Midwest housewife who believes a near-death experience has opened up a direct pipeline to God. This one cuts a little too deeply, if you ask me. What kind of world do we
The New Normal
not only are the drag queens outrageous — the judges are B-list celeBrities scampering for a taste of their lost fame.
live in where she gets another show? I shudder. Won’t someone think of the children? #Abort! Sadly, that’s all the space I’ve been given my dears — but we’ve had quite a bit of fun now haven’t we? See you mid-season perhaps, if I can manage to put down the remote and pick up my not-so-poison pen! ^
the telly Nelly, a/k/a Nate towne, has written about LGbt television for In Newsweekly and HX. after a five-year hiatus to pursue a career in public relations in wisconsin, this native Mainer is back in New england with a universal remote permanently fused to his right hand.
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24 out in maine | fall 2012
yes on one? duh they’ve heard all the arguments, seen all the evidence. are some people really still against same-sex marriage? _by de i r d r e f ulto n
It would be awesome if this was the last thing I ever had to write about the gaymarriage debate. It won’t be, of course. We have just a few weeks until the election in which Maine voters will decide whether to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples (a right they voted to take away just three years ago). There will be rallies and press releases, television advertisements and public meetings. Both sides will jockey for their desired answer to the ballot question: Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples? If the referendum passes, Maine will be the first state to pro-actively endorse marriage equality at the ballot box. I’ll be there, at those rallies and press conferences, scribbling in my notebook, trying to come up with a interesting way to write about the stillelusive (for some) freedom to marry. But I have to admit, after reporting on this issue for almost 10 years — ever since the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2003 that denying marriage rights to gay couples was unconstitutional — I’m kind of over it. I don’t mean to be cavalier. I understand that Mainers have been fighting for this right for decades; that loving couples have lived together for years and years, and built families together, without the legal recognition or label they seek and deserve. I get that every young person, regardless of their sexuality, should have the chance to dream about marrying the person they love. No one dreams of domestic-partnering their one and only. But I won’t deny that I have issue fatigue. Gay or straight or otherwise identified, aren’t you tired of hearing the same points rehashed every few years? All the arguments have been made. There’s nothing left to report (except, it seems, the gradual evolution of individuals’ positions on the issue). There is nothing new to this debate. It’s all been said. All evidence points to an inevitable tipping point, a shift in public perception, and I can only hope that the trend plays out this year at Maine polling places. Because I don’t think I can take another round of this, and I know I’m not the only one. (Even Amelia Nugent, a wellspoken canvasser for Mainers United
for Marriage who spoke at a Portland Yes On One rally last month, admitted that while the experience of going door-to-door for marriage has been extremely gratifying, she is ready for it to be done already. “It’s an emotional roller-coaster for those of us who are personally affected.”) So, to those who are still opposed, I have a few questions: F Isn’t it enough that religious freedom is expressly protected by the proposed law? No religious institution would be forced to marry same-sex couples or to recognize samesex marriages that conflict with religious beliefs. As pastor Michael Gray of the Old Orchard Beach United Methodist Church said at Monday’s rally, if you’re worried about preserving religious freedoms, you should in fact vote in favor of the referendum. F Isn’t it enough that the sky has indeed not fallen in the places that do allow same-sex couples to tie the knot? (See sidebar, “Where We Stand Now.”) Here’s just one example: According to the US Census Bureau, five of the 10 states (plus the District of Columbia) with the lowest divorce rates are also among the nine jurisdictions that recognize gay marriages. F Isn’t it enough that studies have shown that growing up with two gay parents isn’t harmful to kids — and is certainly better than being raised in a single-parent home? A recent study in the Pediatrics journal, reported by Time magazine, suggested that children of “planned lesbian families” do better academically and “were less likely to have behavioral p r o b lems.” (The truth is that we won’t be able to really study the effect of gay parenting for a generation.) Continued on p 26
26 out in maine | fall 2012
Continued from p 24
F Isn’t it enough that there are other complicated and crucial policy questions at hand, ones that affect health-care costs and taxes and our state’s economic health — but, being less sexy than social issues, often get buried by debates such as this one? In other words, let’s move on. Still, I’ll do my part. At that rally outside of City Hall, Mainers United for Marriage campaign director Matt McTighe implored hundreds of pro-marriage supporters to “talk to every Maine voter you know,” and tell them how the freedom to marry personally affects all of us, our friends, family members, and co-workers. Okay. Here’s my story:
I’m fortunate enough to be in the fledgling stages of planning my own wedding, which will take place next year. I am so excited to stand in front of my friends and family and pledge my commitment to a wonderful man. I can’t think of a single way that our relationship or our future marriage has been or could be affected negatively — or even positively — by affording same-sex couples the right to experience similar joy. Wait, that’s not totally true. I believe love grows from love, and that my (our) concept of family will evolve from what we see around us. If our community supports strong relationships, our relationship will grow stronger. And if we decide to have children, I want them to grow up in a world where people value inclusion, and most of all, love. ^
F Isn’t it enough that the most prominent argument of the opposition (the “they’ll teach gay in schools” bit) — the one they believed would have the most traction in 2009 — has been proved specious? “Here in Maine, our Learning Results standards and education regulations make no reference to the teaching of marriage in any way,” Maine Department of Education communications director David Connerty-Marin was quoted as saying at the time. “So a change in Maine’s laws or definition of marriage places no requirements on local districts regarding whether or how they teach about marriage. Such curriculum decisions are strictly local. Before or after passage of the gay marriage law a district could choose to teach
about marriage or not, and to teach about it in any way it deemed appropriate.”
Where We stand noW fstates: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and
For those keeping score at home, same-sex marriage is currently legal in six
Vermont, as well as in Washington DC, and in two Native American territories in the Pacific Northwest. Maryland and Washington have both passed laws legalizing gay marriage; both bills are being put to referendum this fall. New Jersey passed marriageequality legislation only to have it vetoed by conservative governor Chris Christie. Meanwhile, 29 states have passed constitutional amendments that ban gay marriage and nine more have established statutes that explicitly define marriage as between one man and one woman. Minnesota voters will cast their ballots on a constitutional ban this November. Eleven countries worldwide (including Canada) recognize same-sex marriage. Polls conducted in 2012 by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, Pew Research Center, USA Today and Gallup, and several other outlets all found increasing public support for marriage equality, with pro-marriage numbers hovering between 47 to 53 percent. Changing demographics has a lot to do with this. In their 2009 study, Columbia University professors Jeffrey Lax and Justin Phillips found that in all but 12 states,
more than 50 percent of people aged 18 to 29 supported same-sex marriage. And in May 2012, President Barack Obama said on national television, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.” Following that big news, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announced its formal support for same-sex marriage. Several states have issued legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which codifies in federal law that marriage is between one man and one woman. The Justice Department said in 2011 that it would stop defending DOMA. Here in Maine, more than 100 businesses, congregations, and interest groups support Mainers United for Marriage. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland (the axis of Maine’s Catholic community) announced earlier this year that it would not play an active role in the opposition campaign, which is being run by the Christian Civic League of Maine and the National Organization for Marriage. However, the diocese is hosting statewide meetings “to teach the faithful about the gift of marriage and the need to embrace and preserve it.” For straight people, at least. _dF
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