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FREE VOLUME ELEVEN, ISSUE TWENTY THREE NOVEMBER 21 - DECEMBER 4, 2012

GENDA & NYS Senate Control 12 Ethan Hawke’s Breakdown 24 The Discovery of “Homeless” 17 Elliott Stein: Man of Movies 30

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| November 21, 2012

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November 21, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

IS THE PREZISTA ®

EXPERIENCE RIGHT FOR YOU?

aBoUt preZISta

®

PREZISTA® (darunavir) is a prescription medicine. It is one treatment option in the class of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) medicines known as protease inhibitors.

• The use of other medicines active against HIV in combination with PREZISTA®/ritonavir (Norvir ®) may increase your ability to fight HIV. Your healthcare professional will work with you to find the right combination of HIV medicines • It is important that you remain under the care of your healthcare professional during treatment with PREZISTA® PREZISTA® does not cure HIV infection or AIDS and you may continue to experience illnesses associated with HIV-1 infection, including opportunistic infections. You should remain under the care of a doctor when using PREZISTA.® Please read Important Safety Information below, and talk to your healthcare professional to learn if PREZISTA® is right for you.

Important Safety InformatIon What is the most important information I should know about PREZISTA®? • PREZISTA® can interact with other medicines and cause serious side effects. See “Who should not take PREZISTA®?” • PREZISTA® may cause liver problems. Some people taking PREZISTA,® together with Norvir ® (ritonavir), have developed liver problems which may be life-threatening. Your healthcare professional should do blood tests before and during your combination treatment with PREZISTA.® If you have chronic hepatitis B or C infection, your healthcare professional should

• Tell your healthcare professional if you have any of these signs and symptoms of liver problems: dark (tea-colored) urine, yellowing of your skin or whites of your eyes, pale-colored stools (bowel movements), nausea, vomiting, pain or tenderness on your right side below your ribs, or loss of appetite • PREZISTA® may cause a severe or life-threatening skin reaction or rash. Sometimes these skin reactions and skin rashes can become severe and require treatment in a hospital. You should call your healthcare professional immediately if you develop a rash. However, stop taking PREZISTA® and ritonavir combination treatment and call your healthcare professional immediately if you develop any skin changes with these symptoms: fever, tiredness, muscle or joint pain, blisters or skin lesions, mouth sores or ulcers, red or inflamed eyes, like “pink eye.” Rash occurred more often in patients taking PREZISTA® and raltegravir together than with either drug separately, but was generally mild Who should not take PREZISTA®? • Do not take PREZISTA® if you are taking the following medicines: alfuzosin (Uroxatral®), dihydroergotamine (D.H.E.45,® Embolex,® Migranal®), ergonovine, ergotamine (Cafergot,® Ergomar ®), methylergonovine, cisapride (Propulsid®), pimozide (Orap®), oral midazolam, triazolam (Halcion®), the herbal supplement St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), lovastatin (Mevacor,® Altoprev,® Advicor ®), simvastatin (Zocor,® Simcor,® Vytorin®), rifampin (Rifadin,® Rifater,® Rifamate,® Rimactane®), sildenafil (Revatio®) when used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, indinavir (Crixivan®), lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra®), saquinavir (Invirase®), boceprevir (Victrelis™), or telaprevir (Incivek™) • Before taking PREZISTA,® tell your healthcare professional if you are taking sildenafil (Viagra,® Revatio®), vardenafil (Levitra,® Staxyn®),

T:11.4 in

PREZISTA® is always taken with and at the same time as ritonavir (Norvir ®), in combination with other HIV medicines for the treatment of HIV infection in adults. PREZISTA® should also be taken with food.

check your blood tests more often because you have an increased chance of developing liver problems


| November 21, 2012

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There is no other person in the world who is exactly like you. And no HIV treatments are exactly alike, either. That’s why you should ask your healthcare professional about PREZISTA® (darunavir). Once-Daily PREZISTA® taken with ritonavir and in combination with other HIV medications can help lower your viral load and keep your HIV under control over the long term. In a clinical study* of almost 4 years (192 weeks), 7 out of 10 adults who had never taken HIV medications before maintained undetectable† viral loads with PREZISTA® plus ritonavir and Truvada.®

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Please read the Important Safety Information and Patient Information below and on adjacent pages. Find out if the PREZISTA® EXPERIENCE is right for you. Ask your healthcare professional and learn more at ExplorePREZISTA.com *A randomized open label Phase 3 trial comparing PREZISTA®/ritonavir 800/100 mg once daily (n=343) vs. Kaletra®/ritonavir 800/200 mg/day (n=346). †Undetectable was defined as a viral load of less than 50 copies per mL. Registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Janssen Therapeutics, Division of Janssen Products, LP © Janssen Therapeutics, Division of Janssen Products, LP 2012 06/12 28PRZ12036A

Important Safety InformatIon ContInUeD

What should I tell my doctor before I take PREZISTA®?

• Changes in your immune system can happen when you start taking HIV medicines. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden • The most common side effects related to taking PREZISTA® include diarrhea, nausea, rash, headache, stomach pain, and vomiting. This is not a complete list of all possible side effects. If you experience these or other side effects, talk to your healthcare professional. Do not stop taking PREZISTA® or any other medicines without first talking to your healthcare professional

• Before taking PREZISTA,® tell your healthcare professional if you have any medical conditions, including liver problems (including hepatitis B or C), allergy to sulfa medicines, diabetes, or hemophilia

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

• Tell your healthcare professional if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding

Please refer to the ritonavir (Norvir ®) Product Information (PI and PPI) for additional information on precautionary measures.

— The effects of PREZISTA® on pregnant women or their unborn babies are not known. You and your healthcare professional will need to decide if taking PREZISTA® is right for you

Please read accompanying Patient Information for PREZISTA® and discuss any questions you have with your doctor.

— Do not breastfeed. It is not known if PREZISTA® can be passed to your baby in your breast milk and whether it could harm your baby. Also, mothers with HIV should not breastfeed because HIV can be passed to your baby in the breast milk What are the possible side effects of PREZISTA®? • High blood sugar, diabetes or worsening of diabetes, and increased bleeding in people with hemophilia have been reported in patients taking protease inhibitor medicines, including PREZISTA®

Snap a quick pic of our logo to show your doctor and get the conversation started.

28PRZDTC0288R8

This is not a complete list of medicines. Be sure to tell your healthcare professional about all the medicines you are taking or plan to take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

• Changes in body fat have been seen in some patients taking HIV medicines, including PREZISTA.® The cause and long-term health effects of these conditions are not known at this time T:11.4 in

tadalafil (Cialis,® Adcirca®), atorvastatin (Lipitor ®), rosuvastatin (Crestor ®), pravastatin (Pravachol®), or colchicine (Colcrys,® Col-Probenecid®). Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking estrogen-based contraceptives (birth control). PREZISTA® might reduce the effectiveness of estrogen-based contraceptives. You must take additional precautions for birth control, such as condoms


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November 21, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

IMPORTANT PATIENT INFORMATION PREZISTA (pre-ZIS-ta) (darunavir) Oral Suspension PREZISTA (pre-ZIS-ta) (darunavir) Tablets Read this Patient Information before you start taking PREZISTA and each time you get a refill. There may be new information. This information does not take the place of talking to your healthcare provider about your medical condition or your treatment. Also read the Patient Information leaflet for NORVIR® (ritonavir). What is the most important information I should know about PREZISTA? • P REZISTA can interact with other medicines and cause serious side effects. It is important to know the medicines that should not be taken with PREZISTA. See the section “Who should not take PREZISTA?” • PREZISTA may cause liver problems. Some people taking PREZISTA in combination with NORVIR® (ritonavir) have developed liver problems which may be life-threatening. Your healthcare provider should do blood tests before and during your combination treatment with PREZISTA. If you have chronic hepatitis B or C infection, your healthcare provider should check your blood tests more often because you have an increased chance of developing liver problems. • Tell your healthcare provider if you have any of the below signs and symptoms of liver problems. • Dark (tea colored) urine • yellowing of your skin or whites of your eyes • pale colored stools (bowel movements) • nausea • vomiting • pain or tenderness on your right side below your ribs • loss of appetite PREZISTA may cause severe or life-threatening skin reactions or rash. Sometimes these skin reactions and skin rashes can become severe and require treatment in a hospital. You should call your healthcare provider immediately if you develop a rash. However, stop taking PREZISTA and ritonavir combination treatment and call your healthcare provider immediately if you develop any skin changes with symptoms below: • fever • tiredness • muscle or joint pain • blisters or skin lesions • mouth sores or ulcers • red or inflamed eyes, like “pink eye” (conjunctivitis) Rash occurred more often in patients taking PREZISTA and raltegravir together than with either drug separately, but was generally mild. See “What are the possible side effects of PREZISTA?” for more information about side effects. What is PREZISTA? PREZISTA is a prescription anti-HIV medicine used with ritonavir and other antiHIV medicines to treat adults with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) infection. PREZISTA is a type of anti-HIV medicine called a protease inhibitor. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). When used with other HIV medicines, PREZISTA may help to reduce the amount of HIV in your blood (called “viral load”). PREZISTA may also help to increase the number of white blood cells called CD4 (T) cell which help fight off other infections. Reducing the amount of HIV and increasing the CD4 (T) cell count may improve your immune system. This may reduce your risk of death or infections that can happen when your immune system is weak (opportunistic infections). PREZISTA does not cure HIV infection or AIDS and you may continue to experience illnesses associated with HIV-1 infection, including opportunistic infections. You should remain under the care of a doctor when using PREZISTA. Avoid doing things that can spread HIV-1 infection. • Do not share needles or other injection equipment. • Do not share personal items that can have blood or body fluids on them, like toothbrushes and razor blades.

• D o not have any kind of sex without protection. Always practice safe sex by using a latex or polyurethane condom to lower the chance of sexual contact with semen, vaginal secretions, or blood. Ask your healthcare provider if you have any questions on how to prevent passing HIV to other people. Who should not take PREZISTA? Do not take PREZISTA with any of the following medicines: • alfuzosin (Uroxatral®) • dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45®, Embolex®, Migranal®), ergonovine, ergotamine (Cafergot®, Ergomar®) methylergonovine • c isapride • p imozide (Orap®) • oral midazolam, triazolam (Halcion®) • the herbal supplement St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) • the cholesterol lowering medicines lovastatin (Mevacor®, Altoprev®, Advicor®) or simvastatin (Zocor®, Simcor®, Vytorin®) • r ifampin (Rifadin®, Rifater®, Rifamate®, Rimactane®) • sildenafil (Revatio®) only when used for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Serious problems can happen if you take any of these medicines with PREZISTA. What should I tell my doctor before I take PREZISTA? PREZISTA may not be right for you. Before taking PREZISTA, tell your healthcare provider if you: • have liver problems, including hepatitis B or hepatitis C • are allergic to sulfa medicines • have high blood sugar (diabetes) • have hemophilia • are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. It is not known if PREZISTA will harm your unborn baby. Pregnancy Registry: You and your healthcare provider will need to decide if taking PREZISTA is right for you. If you take PREZISTA while you are pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider about how you can be included in the Antiretroviral Pregnancy Registry. The purpose of the registry is follow the health of you and your baby. • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Do not breastfeed. We do not know if PREZISTA can be passed to your baby in your breast milk and whether it could harm your baby. Also, mothers with HIV-1 should not breastfeed because HIV-1 can be passed to the baby in the breast milk. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Using PREZISTA and certain other medicines may affect each other causing serious side effects. PREZISTA may affect the way other medicines work and other medicines may affect how PREZISTA works. Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take: • medicine to treat HIV • estrogen-based contraceptives (birth control). PREZISTA might reduce the effectiveness of estrogen-based contraceptives. You must take additional precautions for birth control such as a condom. • medicine for your heart such as bepridil, lidocaine (Xylocaine Viscous®), quinidine (Nuedexta®), amiodarone (Pacerone®, Cardarone®), digoxin (Lanoxin®), flecainide (Tambocor®), propafenone (Rythmol®) • warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®) • medicine for seizures such as carbamazepine (Carbatrol®, Equetro®, Tegretol®, Epitol®), phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin®, Phenytek®) • medicine for depression such as trazadone and desipramine (Norpramin®) • clarithromycin (Prevpac®, Biaxin®) • medicine for fungal infections such as ketoconazole (Nizoral®), itraconazole (Sporanox®, Onmel®), voriconazole (VFend®) • colchicine (Colcrys®, Col-Probenecid®) • rifabutin (Mycobutin®) • medicine used to treat blood pressure, a heart attack, heart failure, or to lower pressure in the eye such as metoprolol (Lopressor®, Toprol-XL®), timolol (Cosopt®, Betimol®, Timoptic®, Isatolol®, Combigan®) • midazolam administered by injection • medicine for heart disease such as felodipine (Plendil®), nifedipine (Procardia®, Adalat CC®, Afeditab CR®), nicardipine (Cardene®) • steroids such as dexamethasone, fluticasone (Advair Diskus®, Veramyst®, Flovent®, Flonase®) • bosentan (Tracleer®)


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| November 21, 2012

IMPORTANT PATIENT INFORMATION • m edicine to treat chronic hepatitis C such as boceprevir (VictrelisTM), telaprevir (IncivekTM) • medicine for cholesterol such as pravastatin (Pravachol®), atorvastatin (Lipitor®), rosuvastatin (Crestor®) • medicine to prevent organ transplant failure such as cyclosporine (Gengraf®, Sandimmune®, Neoral®), tacrolimus (Prograf®), sirolimus (Rapamune®) • salmeterol (Advair®, Serevent®) • medicine for narcotic withdrawal such as methadone (Methadose®, Dolophine Hydrochloride), buprenorphine (Butrans®, Buprenex®, Subutex®), buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone®) • medicine to treat schizophrenia such as risperidone (Risperdal®), thioridazine • medicine to treat erectile dysfunction or pulmonary hypertension such as sildenafil (Viagra®, Revatio®), vardenafil (Levitra®, Staxyn®), tadalafil (Cialis®, Adcirca®) • medicine to treat anxiety, depression or panic disorder such as sertraline (Zoloft®), paroxetine (Paxil®) This is not a complete list of medicines that you should tell your healthcare provider that you are taking. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are not sure if your medicine is one that is listed above. Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your doctor or pharmacist when you get a new medicine. Do not start any new medicines while you are taking PREZISTA without first talking with your healthcare provider. How should I take PREZISTA? • Take PREZISTA every day exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. • You must take ritonavir (NORVIR®) at the same time as PREZISTA. • Do not change your dose of PREZISTA or stop treatment without talking to your healthcare provider first. • Take PREZISTA and ritonavir (NORVIR®) with food. • Swallow PREZISTA tablets whole with a drink. If you have difficulty swallowing PREZISTA tablets, PREZISTA oral suspension is also available. Your health care provider will help determine whether PREZISTA tablets or oral suspension is right for you. • PREZISTA oral suspension should be given with the supplied oral dosing syringe. Shake the suspension well before each usage. • If you take too much PREZISTA, call your healthcare provider or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away. What should I do if I miss a dose? People who take PREZISTA one time a day: • If you miss a dose of PREZISTA by less than 12 hours, take your missed dose of PREZISTA right away. Then take your next dose of PREZISTA at your regularly scheduled time. • If you miss a dose of PREZISTA by more than 12 hours, wait and then take the next dose of PREZISTA at your regularly scheduled time. People who take PREZISTA two times a day • If you miss a dose of PREZISTA by less than 6 hours, take your missed dose of PREZISTA right away. Then take your next dose of PREZISTA at your regularly scheduled time. • If you miss a dose of PREZISTA by more than 6 hours, wait and then take the next dose of PREZISTA at your regularly scheduled time. If a dose of PREZISTA is skipped, do not double the next dose. Do not take more or less than your prescribed dose of PREZISTA at any one time. What are the possible side effects of PREZISTA? PREZISTA can cause side effects including: • See “What is the most important information I should know about PREZISTA?” • Diabetes and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). Some people who take protease inhibitors including PREZISTA can get high blood sugar, develop diabetes, or your diabetes can get worse. Tell your healthcare provider if you notice an increase in thirst or urinate often while taking PREZISTA. • Changes in body fat. These changes can happen in people who take antiretroviral therapy. The changes may include an increased amount of fat in the upper back and neck (“buffalo hump”), breast, and around the back, chest, and stomach area. Loss of fat from the legs, arms, and face may also happen. The exact cause and long-term health effects of these conditions are not known. • Changes in your immune system (Immune Reconstitution Syndrome) can happen when you start taking HIV medicines. Your immune system may get stronger and begin to fight infections that have been hidden in your body for a long time. Call your healthcare provider right away if you start having new symptoms after starting your HIV medicine.

• Increased bleeding for hemophiliacs. Some people with hemophilia have increased bleeding with protease inhibitors including PREZISTA. The most common side effects of PREZISTA include: • diarrhea • nausea • rash • headache • abdominal pain • vomiting Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all of the possible side effects of PREZISTA. For more information, ask your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. How should I store PREZISTA? • S tore PREZISTA oral suspension and tablets at room temperature [77°F (25°C)]. • Do not refrigerate or freeze PREZISTA oral suspension. • Keep PREZISTA away from high heat. • PREZISTA oral suspension should be stored in the original container. Keep PREZISTA and all medicines out of the reach of children. General information about PREZISTA Medicines are sometimes prescribed for purposes other than those listed in a Patient Information leaflet. Do not use PREZISTA for a condition for which it was not prescribed. Do not give PREZISTA to other people even if they have the same condition you have. It may harm them. This leaflet summarizes the most important information about PREZISTA. If you would like more information, talk to your healthcare provider. You can ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for information about PREZISTA that is written for health professionals. For more information, call 1-800-526-7736. What are the ingredients in PREZISTA? Active ingredient: darunavir Inactive ingredients: PREZISTA Oral Suspension: hydroxypropyl cellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, sodium carboxymethylcellulose, methylparaben sodium, citric acid monohydrate, sucralose, masking flavor, strawberry cream flavor, hydrochloric acid (for pH adjustment), purified water. PREZISTA 75 mg and 150 mg Tablets: colloidal silicon dioxide, crospovidone, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose. The film coating contains: OPADRY® White (polyethylene glycol 3350, polyvinyl alcohol-partially hydrolyzed, talc, titanium dioxide). PREZISTA 400 mg and 600 mg Tablets: colloidal silicon dioxide, crospovidone, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose. The film coating contains: OPADRY® Orange (FD&C Yellow No.  6, polyethylene glycol 3350, polyvinyl alcohol-partially hydrolyzed, talc, titanium dioxide). PREZISTA 800 mg Tablets: colloidal silicon dioxide, crospovidone, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, hypromellose. The film coating contains: OPADRY® Dark Red (iron oxide red, polyethylene glycol 3350, polyvinyl alcoholpartially hydrolyzed, talc, titanium dioxide). This Patient Information has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Manufactured by: PREZISTA Oral Suspension PREZISTA Tablets Janssen Pharmaceutica, N.V. Janssen Ortho LLC, Beerse, Belgium Gurabo, PR 00778 Manufactured for: Janssen Therapeutics, Division of Janssen Products, LP, Titusville NJ 08560 NORVIR® is a registered trademark of its respective owner. PREZISTA® is a registered trademark of Janssen Pharmaceuticals © Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 2006 Revised: November 2012 10101718P


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November 21, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

ROADBLOCK

Six out House members, one senator face intransigence in the Republican ranks

BY PAUL SCHINDLER

W

SEAN PATRICK MALONEY FOR CONGRESS

ith a record six out LGBT members of the US House of Representatives and the first openly lesbian or gay member of the Senate — Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin — the 113th Congress, which begins its term in January, should, by all rights, provide a striking impetus for progress on issues of concern to queer Americans. Even though it’s the high water mark for lesbian and gay visibility on Capitol Hill, however, seven members represent less than one and half percent of the 535 who comprise the House and Senate — and all of them are Democrats. With Republicans still in control of the House, even after a very good day for Democrats on November 6, legislators and advocates broadly agree the GOP is nowhere close to entertaining an ambitious gay agenda — or much of any at all. Barney Frank, the veteran gay Massachusetts Democrat who is retiring at

MARK POCAN FOR CONGRESS

the end of this year, was characteristically the most blunt in his assessment of the Republican House majority. “They are deeply anti-gay,” he told Gay City News last week. “And they don’t care that there is a lesbian senator or more LGBT House members.” While others left some opening for evolution on gay issues in Republican ranks — particularly in light of what the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s (NGLTF) Stacey Long called the election’s “resounding message that they need to pay attention to full diversity” — Frank said, “There is zero chance that the Republicans will move on ENDA,” the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which he has pushed as lead sponsor for years. Supporters of the LGBT community are more optimistic that another lesson from Election Day — about the GOP’s weakness among Latino voters and other people of color communities — could lend momentum to the drive for comprehensive immigration reform, under which same-sex couples in which one member is a foreign national could win the same status as mar-

R FOR ROADBLOCK, continued on p.9

THE NEWCOMERS: New LGBT Democrats in the House include Sean Patrick Maloney from upstate New York’s Hudson Valley, Mark Pocan from the Madison, Wisconsin area, Kyrsten Sinema from the Phoenix and Tempe metropolitan areas in Arizona, and Mark Takano, who will represent the Riverside area of California, east of Los Angeles.

MARKTAKANO.COM

LGBTs,

the more striking since it was developed two decades ago as a compromise alternative to a more comprehensive civil rights measure — introduced in the 1970s by the late Congresswoman Bella Abzug and her Manhattan House colleague Ed Koch — that would have outlawed discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and other areas as well. ENDA has never won a favorable vote in the Senate and was passed by the House only once — in 2007, when the Democratic majority approved a version providing protections based on sexual orientation but not gender identity and expression. Jared Polis, a gay Colorado Democrat who begins his third House term in January, will pick up ENDA sponsorship from Frank and offered a view on the bill’s prospects under GOP Speaker John Boehner only slightly less dire than the Massachusetts Democrat’s. “We would need to see a sea change in the attitudes of the House Republican majority in order for ENDA to become a priority for them in the coming Congress,” Polis spokesman Chris Fitzgerald wrote in an email message. “To date, it does not seem that the speaker or his colleagues have been in any way influenced by the results of the 2012 election or the shifting attitudes of voters.” David Cicilline, a gay Rhode Islander just elected to his second term in the House, tempered his pessimism by noting the positives that came out of the election. “Unfortunately, House Republican leaders have continued to obstruct progress towards equality by defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court and preventing any vote on ENDA,” Cicilline wrote in an email message. “I am encouraged, however, by the progress that was made last week in the first statewide approvals of marriage

EMILY’S LIST

ried couples for purposes of permanent residency and citizenship. Even Frank acknowledged an opportunity for progress on that score. In the absence of hope for significant gains in Congress, advocates look for leadership where they have ever since the Republicans recaptured the House in the 2010 elections — the Obama administration. Since taking office, the president and his team have taken a number of significant executive steps — in rule-making, in enforcement of existing law, and even in declining to defend the 1996 Defense of Mar riage Act (DOMA) from constitutional challenge — to advance LGBT political goals. The community, of course, is pressing for more action, and a key priority is an executive order requiring contractors doing business with the federal government to demonstrate they do not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. With marriage equality now a fact in nine states plus the District of Columbia, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell an historical relic, and the possibility that binational couples could win a reprieve from being separated should Congress move on broadly comprehensive immigration reform, it is startling to realize that America’s LGBT community has not yet won basic nondiscrimination protections in the workplace. In fact, the situation is such an anomaly given all the progress the community has made in recent decades that NGLTF’s Long, the group’s director of public policy and government affairs, pointed to “the widespread but erroneous notion that we already have job protections.” According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), however, it is still legal in 29 states to fire workers based on their sexual orientation. Transgender and other gender-nonconforming workers are at risk in 34 states, including New York. The lack of progress on ENDA is all


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| November 21, 2012 Act that protect LGBT domestic abuse victims. Citing women’s concerns, gay rights demands, and growing support for immigration reform, Maloney told Gay City News, “I think the Republicans, to be a viable party, need to understand that the voters care about these social issues.” The other Maloney from New York — newly elected Sean Patrick Maloney — was the only gay House newcomer who responded to Gay City News’ request for comment on their expectations for LGBT progress. A veteran of the Clinton administration in Washington and the Spitzer and Paterson gubernatorial staffs in Albany, Maloney voiced greater faith in bipartisan progress than did his Democratic colleagues, saying, “I’ve worked across the aisle for the LGBT community my entire career, and I look forward to continuing that work in Congress. While the challenges are great, we can’t stop for one minute our fight for equality for all Americans.” A senior House Democratic staffer offered Gay City News the party leadership’s guarded assessment of any prospects for progress under continued Republican control. While voicing the hope that some of the new GOP representatives are “not Neanderthals like in the past,” that staffer noted that neither ENDA nor other LGBT issues played a key role in any House race. Judy Biggert, a Republican incumbent defeated in a swing district in the Chicago suburbs, voiced support for ENDA during her campaign, “but only when she was pressed during a debate,” the staffer noted. Brian Moulton, who as legal director at the Human Rights Campaign is at the center of the community’s advocacy drive in Washington, also focused on the make-up and posture of specific GOP House members. While saying, “Everyone has some hopes that given how the elections went, the Republicans might look at their positions on ENDA or other LGBT issues,” he added

JARED POLIS FLICKR FEED

equality, the first openly LGBT candidate elected to the Senate, and a record number of LGBT individuals elected to Congress.” Cicilline said that the six out House members would “play an important role in pushing ENDA forward.” Two House Democrats from Manhattan, who are not gay but have been longtime advocates for LGBT rights, offered critiques of the Republican leadership that argued their intransigence on ENDA and other issues would increasingly work to their political detriment. “The Republicans suffered a pretty glowing defeat,” Representative Jerry Nadler told Gay City News. “I think the Republicans are beginning to realize — or they are shortsighted if they don’t — that their political base is shrinking. They will be reduced to irrelevance if they don’t grow their base.” Noting the generational divide on gay rights issues, Nadler said the GOP “is clearly going to be floundering” with young voters “if they don’t move on” equality issues. Then, saying “it is quite possible that some Republicans will want to change,” he acknowledged, “I wouldn’t be confident” that Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are prepared to lead on such an evolution. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, citing the marriage equality ballot wins and the election of Baldwin in Wisconsin as well as out gay Sean Patrick Maloney to a House seat in the Hudson Valley, said that November 6 represented “a very important election for gay rights.” She acknowledged that “Boehner will probably waive the GOP flag and ENDA will probably not move,” but she warned that GOP inaction on the bill was creating the same sort of problems for Republicans as is their refusal to accept the Senate reauthorization provisions in the Violence Against Women

THE INCUMBENTS: Jared Polis, who represents a district centered on Boulder, Colorado, and Providence, Rhode Island’s David Cicilline return to the House in January.

that “the generic anti-LGBT coalition is about the same size.” In fact, he noted, the numbers of House Republicans persuadable on gay rights may in fact have declined with the defeat of moderate incumbents such as Biggert and New Hampshire’s Charlie Bass. Given the consensus among LGBT and LGBT -friendly Democrats as well as advocates about the long odds ENDA continues to face, it’s not surprising that considerable ef fort is focused on moving the president on an executive order. On November 14, the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus held a briefing on employment issues, with speakers that included NGLTF’s Long, HRC’s Moulton, and others, including Tico Almeida from the Freedom to Work Advocacy Fund and Harper Jean Tobin, the policy director at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). In April, top administration officials told a group of advocates that the president would not be moving forward with an executive order regarding nondiscrimination policies required of federal contractors. The president’s spokespeople have consistently argued that ENDA is a more comprehensive and durable solution to the job discrimination problem. At that time, Almeida was particularly critical of White House inaction, saying, “This is a political calculation that cannot stand.” However, NCTE’s executive director, Mara Keisling, said that the expectation Obama would move before the November election was “a made-up time frame.” While stating clearly that her group wanted to see action sooner rather than later, she emphasized that many advocates all along anticipated the president would wait until after his reelection to move on such an order. “The answer from the White House was not ‘no,’ it was ‘not now,’” she told Gay City News.

In the election’s aftermath, Almeida makes the same point. “In every statement that administration officials have made since they punted in the spring, they have been very specific that their position was that they would not now sign the order,” he told Gay City News. “I am optimistic that it will be signed sooner rather than later.” He noted that the executive order was the subject of the first congressional briefing on gay rights after the election and that for all leading LGBT lobby groups in Washington, it represents “a top-line priority.” Almeida said a nondiscrimination requirement for federal contractors would affect nearly one in four American workers. Obama now clearly faces intensifying pressure to live up to Keisling and Almeida’s expectations. Every member of Congress contacted by Gay City News supports action by the administration. A spokesman for Senator Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat who is his chamber’s lead ENDA sponsor, said “the lessons of this election have the potential to create new momentum” for ENDA, but he also noted the “roadblocks” in the House majority. “To fill as much of the gap as possible until legislation is passed, Senator Merkley does support an executive order to create fairness among federal contractors,” his office wrote in an email message. “I think the president should move forward on an executive order as quickly as possible,” Carolyn Maloney told Gay City News. Nadler also urged quick action but added that success there is no substitute for demanding action on ENDA. “Congress should be moving to enshrine it all in legislation, but I always think you should help people as

R FOR ROADBLOCK, continued on p.34

TAMMYBALDWIN.COM

R FOR ROADBLOCK, from p.8

MAYOR DAVID CICILLINE FLICKR FEED

THE SENATOR-ELECT: After serving the Madison, Wisconsin area in the House for 14 years, Tammy Baldwin moves to the Senate in January.


10

November 21, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

CRIME

Defense Admits Renato Seabra Knew He Was Doing Wrong BY DUNCAN OSBORNE

T

he accused killer of Carlos Castro told a defense expert that there was a time during the 2011 murder when he knew that what he was doing was wrong and he attempted suicide. “I didn’t think it was wrong, I didn’t think it was good or bad,” Renato Seabra told Roger Harris, a psychiatrist who was hired by the defense, months after the killing. “Then I realized the bad thing I had done and I tried to kill myself.” Seabra was quoted in a report Harris prepared and read from in Manhattan Supr eme Court on November 16. Seabra, now 23, is arguing that he was legally insane and did not know the difference between right and wrong when he strangled, beat, and castrated the 65-year-old Portuguese TV personality in a Manhattan hotel room. The defense and prosecution agree that Seabra killed Castro, so the only issue for jurors to decide is whether the younger man intended to kill Castro, as the prosecution charges, or whether he is not guilty by reason of insanity. The defense has put on two experts, Harris and psychologist Jeffrey Singer, who testified about Seabra’s medical records from St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, where he was first treated for mental illness on January 7 just hours after killing Castro, and from a Bellevue Hospital psychiatric ward, where he was held until his transfer to Rikers Island three months later. Both experts interviewed Seabra and performed some testing on him. Citing the records, the expert’s opinions, and the gruesome nature of the crime, the defense wants the jury to infer that Seabra was insane at

the time he committed the crime and cannot be held legally responsible. The attack on Castro lasted for roughly an hour and left Seabra and the hotel room covered in blood. The moment when Seabra realized he had done “the bad thing” came when Castro was still alive so it preceded the younger man’s final, fatal attack on the older man. Questioned by Rubin M. Sinins, who is defending Seabra with David Touger, Harris dismissed that recognition on Seabra’s part as fleeting and unimportant. “At best, it was momentary,” Har ris said. Seabra has given inconsistent reports about what occurred in the hotel room and about what he was thinking when he committed the crime. Seabra faces a single count of second-degree murder that alleges he intended to kill Castro. The prosecution contends Seabra was using Castro to advance his modeling career and for money. In the prosecution’s story, Seabra flew into a rage and attacked Castro when the older man said their three-month-long relationship was at an end and they would be returning to Portugal early. The prosecution is relying on the expert testimony of Dr. William Barr, the director of a neuropsychology unit at the NYU Langone Medical Center, who concluded that Seabra was sane at the time of the attack. Barr suggested Seabra’s later psychological symptoms resulted from the horrific murder he committed and said he could not exclude the possibility that Seabra may be faking his symptoms. Harris said Barr was the only professional among those who inter viewed or treated Seabra who held that view and pointed to the treatment record and medications he was given as evidence of how convinced doctors at Bellevue were that he was ill.

MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY

Psychiatrist dismisses awareness as “momentary” clarity amidst gruesome 2011 Carlos Castro murder

Renato Seabra the week he killed Carlos Castro in early 2011.

“His behavior is so pr oblematic that they have to medicate him against his will,” Harris said. “That they are medicating him against his will speaks very loud.” While the defense has not said that the intimate relationship between Seabra and Castro played a part in Seabra’s later mental state, it appears they want the jury to conclude that it did. As Singer did, Harris implied that it was a contributing factor. The younger man understood that he was having sex with Castro in exchange for gifts and help with his modeling career, the psychiatrist said. “I think he was naive that he would be able to sustain that,” Har ris said. “I think he underestimated the impact it would have on him... He thought he would be able to endure the cost of it.” Seabra later said that he was “grossed out” by the sex and “He reported that he did not like having

sex with Mr. Castro,” Harris said. After the killing, Seabra said he was acting on instructions from God when he killed Castro, though he did not tell police that in a statement he gave roughly 36 hours after the crime. The trial, which will resume on November 27, was delayed by a week due to Hurricane Sandy and then the Manhattan courts remained closed for a week after the stor m. The trial’s length, roughly two months, appears to be trying the patience of everyone involved. O n N o v e m b e r 1 5 , D a n i e l P. FitzGerald, the trial judge, instructed jurors that they are not to discuss the case. As he does not nor mally give that instruction, it suggests jurors have been heard doing that. During a bench conference on November 15, FitzGerald, who is known for giving attor neys gr eat latitude in trying their cases, grew visibly angry with Touger and said loudly, “Mr. Touger, please stop it.” FitzGerald and Maxine Rosenthal, who is prosecuting the case with Jung Park, have tangled previously. As they argued over a ruling he made on November 13, FitzGer ald instructed the court reporter to not record her comments when they were both speaking. “Ms. Rosenthal has a habit in this case and perhaps in other cases of talking over judges,” FitzGerald said. “Some day, Ms. Rosenthal, when you wear the black robe, you can make all the rulings you want.” Seabra has also taken to not appearing in court. On November 13, FitzGerald told him that if he continued talking in court he would be removed. Seabra later said he found listening to the testimony about his mental state difficult and he opted to stay in a court holding cell.

WHEN A LESBIAN MARRIAGE TRIVIALIZES A POLITICAL CAREER Christine Quinn, just named to Out magazine’s annual Out100, began her career as a tenant activist, then got on board on the ground floor of State Senator Tom Duane’s political career, becoming his chief of staff while he served on the City Council. After several years as executive director of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, Quinn was elected to the City Council in 1999, when Duane resigned to assume his Senate seat. Since 2006, Quinn has been the speaker

of the Council and become the most powerful woman in New York State politics. She is widely considered a leading candidate in next year’s mayoral race, and has broad and heartfelt support among many in the LGBT community. Quinn also has critics in progressive circles, including some queer activists, over her close ties to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and her key role in lifting term limits in 2009 to allow the mayor and herself to seek another four years in office.

Q u i n n ’s w e d d i n g t h i s p a s t s p r i n g w a s a huge media event, and with Bloomberg, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and several US House members in attendance, it was also undoubtedly an important political moment in her career. That wedding is what Out magazine thinks its readers should know about the speaker. In its release about Quinn’s inclusion in the Out100, the magazine wrote, “Christine

Quinn & Kim Catullo: If New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is elected the city’s mayor in 2013, many will point to her nuptials this May to her longtime girlfriend lawyer Kim Catullo, as the deciding factor. Quinn would become the first female and first openly gay mayor of New York, and her lavish wedding, is cited as having helped soften a legendarily tough image.” Quinn is no doubt thrilled to be named to the Out100… I guess. — Paul Schindler


| November 21, 2012

OBITUARY

11

A Brilliant Flame Dispatched Too Soon BY PAUL SCHINDLER

W

illiam Brandon Lacy Campos was a spoken word poet well known and highly regarded in the writer and arts communities of Minneapolis, Oakland, and New York. He was also a novelist whose debut work is set for publication early next year. A social justice activist across many queer communities of color, he was, as well, a dedicated blogger w h o s e r a w h o n e s t y , a n g e r, a n d emphatic certainty could startle and even put people off. His closest friend told Gay City News he was “mildly crazy”; in a moving tribute on the Huffington Post, another friend wrote, “Brandon would do some crazy shit.” When Campos died on November 9, just four days after delivering the keynote address at the Black Solidarity Day Rally at Tufts University in Medford Massachusetts, he was only 35. While the circumstances of his death remain a mystery — he seemingly held nothing back in recounting his story of past crystal meth addiction, and the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office has not yet concluded an autopsy — there is no mystery about the devotion he elicited among those whose paths he crossed. “We consider each other family,” said David Berube, a visual artist who was Campos’ partner for several years and had lived with him another year and a half since their romantic relationship ended in mid-2011. F o r m a n y N e w Yo r k c o u p l e s , remaining roommates after breaking up is an unenviable side effect of the city’s insane housing market. For Berube and Campos, nothing could be further from the truth. “Our relationship only heightened with time,” Berube said. “It was impossible to lose this sort of person. There was much more to the relationship than being boyfriends. It was more than any other relationship I’ve had in my life.” Among the things the two men shared was a work bond; in 2011, they published “It Ain’t T ruth If It Doesn’t Hurt,” a book of Campos’ poetry and Berube’s artwork. Their friendship, while living together as for mer lovers, Berube explained, was str ong enough to make room for new romantic partners in each of their lives. At his death, Campos was survived by boyfriend Nicolas Gerard.

According to Berube, he was not the only one deeply affected by what could be called Campos’ urgent charm. “I saw how many people he touched,” he recalled. “People are so enamored by him, by his passion. With Brandon, there was no middle ground, he was way up or way down, and had no time for the middle ground, no time for the hypocrisy. He would enter a room and very quickly become the center of everyone’s attention.” Campos, Berube said, had a broad, embracing definition of family. Among his survivors, Berube mentioned his mother, Deborah Watt, her son Jason Strother, and her husband Cordell Watt; Campos’ father William Edward Lacy and Brandon’s three siblings, Jasmine, Shannon, and Julius Lacy; as well as Clinton and Ella Strother, Meta Mandich, and their mother Melanie Quillin. B er ub e m enti oned other “fam ily” survivors who had no blood or legal relationship to Campos. One of those survivors is Rodrigo SanchezChavarria, a writer and spoken word poet whom Campos met more than a decade ago in Minnesota, where he was raised. The two were part of a group who founded a Latin@ poets collective, Palabristas (Word Slingers). Like Berube, Sanchez spoke about Campos in terms of family. The two played soccer together and collaborated on work including a poem titled “Swine Flu.” Campos always made time to see Sanchez on his visits back to Minnesota — often holding bar beques — since moving to Oakland and later New York about four years ago. Last year, Campos returned to Minnesota to stand as godfather to Sanchez’s infant son Santiago, and in August, Sanchez and his family, including two daughters who called Campos T ia Brandon (using the Spanish word for aunt), accompanied Campos on a visit to see Brandon’s mother in Duluth. “Brandon taught me a lot about love,” Sanchez said. “He had his blood family, but he brought the idea that you choose your family. That to me was very empowering and powerful. For a lot of us that he referred to as family, that was an extreme honor.” In Minneapolis, Campos’ world extended beyond writers and artists, also including activism and scholarship. He wrote proudly about being “the only non-PhD candidate” to have written a chapter in “Queer Twin Cities,” a 2010 LGBT oral history. He was

COURTESY: DAVID BERUBE

William Brandon Lacy Campos, poet, activist, passionate queer man, dead at 35

William Brandon Lacy Campos.

also a contributor to “Beyond Resistance! Youth Activism and Community Change: New Democratic Possibilities for Practice and Policy for America's Youth,” a 2006 book. Campos was living in Oakland when a mutual friend introduced him to Berube online. The two began a lengthy Inter net friendship and in time a bicoastal relationship. As Campos made plans to move to New York, he got in touch with Charlie Vázquez, a writer, artist, and musician who was hosting a monthly reading series in the East Village called Hispanic Panic. The two went on to collaborate on a dozen or so reading projects, from the New York Public Library to a series Campos hosted on behalf of the Green Party in Long Island City. Last year, Vázquez and Charles Rice-González included a contribution by Campos in their published collection, “From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction.” Several years before Campos arrived in New York, Emmanuel Xavier, a poet and writer here in the city, met Campos at a writers’ conference in Minneapolis. Campos later contributed to Xavier’s “Mariposas: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry.” Xavier and Vázquez introduced Campos to Rebel Satori Press, where both men had relationships. It was that press that came out with “It Ain’t T ruth If It Doesn’t Hurt” last year and is finalizing publication of Campos’ novel, “Eden Lost.” His editor at Rebel Satori wrote that the book is

a “supernatural and extraordinary” account of a survivor of a painful childhood written in a style that is “lyrical and down to earth and very ‘real’ (no bullshit, no pulling punches), just like his poetry but this time in prose.” Campos, in fact, had a troubled youth — suf fering physical abuse early on and, later, as a young adult, sexual abuse. He lived with HIV for years and, in his online writings, made no effort to contain his fury at those who contributed to the ongoing stigma faced by those in his situation. Last month on his blog, myfeetonlywalkforward.blogspot.com, Campos wrote, “The next time you are posting an ad for a piece of ass or a dick for that ass and you post that you are clean and looking for clean, I sure hope you mean that you have washed your ass in bleach and are looking for someone that has done the same... because if you are using ‘clean’ to refer to yourself as being HIV-negative, then let me be so kind as to tell you that the connotative definition of your identity is that being HIV-positive is dirty.” He ended the posting by writing, “Check yourself... or I promise you... I will.” Campos brought the same noholds-barred tone to much of his writing, from the personal — whether concerning the despair and disintegration he experienced on meth and his struggle to not go back there or the torment he felt having Ber ube’s ex live with them for a time as they began their relationship — to the political. In fact, for all his writings’ nakedness about his personal life, politics and activism were major themes of the work pr oduced by Campos, who served for a time as codirector of Queers for Economic Justice and sat on the board of the Audre Lorde Project, a community center for queers of color. In 2011, r esponding to a blogger who wrote a series of posts he viewed as transphobic, Campos wrote, “Here is the part where you as a white person need to shut up, sit down, and never ever speak again. You as a white woman do not now have and never will have the right to EVER SPEAK or COMMENT or in any way have an OPINION on the right of queer and trans people of color to self organize around our commonalities.” In a recent Facebook post urging support for President Barack Obama’s reelection, he wrote, “Not

REMEMBRANCE, continued on p.13


12

November 21, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

POLITICS

Senate Democratic Defections Could Imperil GENDA Amidst closed-door negotiations, bloc of pro-LGBT senators might allow GOP to retain control BY ANDY HUMM

NEW YORK STATE SENATE

D

emocrats in the New Yo r k S t a t e S e n a t e looked to have won a surprise majority on Election Day, overcoming a huge financial disadvantage, Republican gerrymandering, and no help from Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo. But that prospective majority has been put in jeopardy — and, along with it, the fate of much progressive legislation, including a long-stalled transgender rights bill, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) — as Democratic senators defect or threaten to in the fight over who will become the majority leader. Republicans have held that post in all but two years over a period dating back more than 40. Senator -Elect Brad Hoylman, a Lower Manhattan Democrat who is succeeding Tom Duane and will be the only out gay member of the Senate, said, “It is extremely important for GENDA that the Democratic majority holds — along with other issues including funding for LGBT and AIDS services.” In the 63 Senate races, 31 Democrats and 30 Republicans have been certified as winners and Democrats lead in the two outstanding contests upstate. But one newly elected Democrat, social conservative Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, has already bolted, saying he will caucus with the Republicans to re-elect Long Island’s Dean Skelos as majority leader. Four other Democratic senators, led by Jeff Klein of the Bronx, have been calling themselves the Independent Democratic Caucus (IDC) and will not declare themselves in the leadership fight. Klein’s IDC colleagues are Diane Savino of Staten Island, who is also his longtime partner, David Valesky of Syracuse, and David Carlucci of Rockland County. The four all have progay voting records, but since they are not talking, it is unclear whether any deal they would make to join with the Republicans to run the Senate would include assurances about the passage of GENDA or anything else of concern to the LGBT community. The fight is a replay of the 2009 defection of several Democratic members among the self-styled Four Amigos, who were led by the Bronx’s Pedro Espada, who is now headed for prison after a corruption conviction. Espada and Queens Senator Hiram Monserrate, who at the time was facing domestic violence charges of which he was eventu-

Senator-Elect Brad Hoylman, an out gay Democrat, pledges to fight for his party in the leadership battle; Diane Savino, a strong supporter of LGBT issues, is not making her position public.

ally convicted, left the first Democratic majority in the Senate since the 1960s, returning power to the GOP. After months of chaos, the Democrats lured them back in a deal that gave Espada the number two post in the Senate, a position he used to thwart tenant legislation opposed by the landlord lobby that had funded the coup. Hoylman said Felder’s defection was “not a surprise.” He hopes the IDC will stay within the larger Democratic caucus, but pledged he would not support the sort of deal employed to get Espada back in the fold. “The conference should not be subject to hostage-taking,” Hoylman said. Unlike his predecessors Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson, Cuomo — who is supposed to be the leader of his party in New York — did not work for a Democratic majority in the Senate, is widely seen to be more comfortable with the business-oriented conservative Republican majority, endorsed some Republicans, and has said he expects “a coalition” to be in charge of the Senate in January. As this story has unfolded, still more Democrats are rumored to be looking to make deals with the Republicans, including former Democratic Majority Leader Malcolm Smith of Queens and right-wing Bronx Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., whose son, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., just condemned his predecessor, Adolfo Carrión, for becoming a Republican to run for mayor next year. Diaz,

Sr., is the Senate’s most vocally implacable foe of the LGBT community. Despite the threat to GENDA from this leadership fight, the Empire State Pride Agenda’s new executive director, Nathan Schaefer, whose group calls the bill its top priority, said in an email, “We are not involved in the deliberations regarding Senate leadership. Our strategy has not changed one iota. We continue to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle, all across the state, to build support for priorities such as a transgender nondiscrimination law and funding for LGBT health and human services.” The Pride Agenda refused to provide a count of the Democrats and Republicans who have committed to them to vote for GENDA, though transgender activist Melissa Sklarz, president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, said all the current Democratic senators support it except Diaz and, presumably, newcomer Felder. In 2010, Diaz joined a unanimous GOP bloc on the Judiciary Committee in preventing GENDA from getting a floor vote. Sklarz is hoping the IDC stays in the Democratic column for the sake of GENDA, but said the “second best option” would be for “Skelos to depend on the IDC” informally, and the worst option would be “a Republican majority.” Neither she nor any of the other advocates for GENDA appear to have worked on getting a commitment from the IDC that they will insist the bill be sent down for a floor vote if they make

a power-sharing deal. While Sklarz commended Cuomo for making GENDA “a priority,” she would not comment on his support for Senate Republicans or his expectations of a coalition leadership. The Senate majority leader wields enormous power over what bills get a vote. And while Republican leaders have eventually allowed votes on gay issues, it took 42 years for one to permit a vote on a bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and 11 years in the case of the hate crimes bill — in both instances long after the Democrat-led Assembly had passed them. Skelos allowed the marriage equality bill out in 2011, with all but four of his members voting against it and only one of that quarter — Mark Grisanti of Buffalo — likely to return in January. (One did not run for reelection, Roy McDonald of Saratoga lost his primary, and Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie, after narrowly surviving a primary challenge, is running behind a Democrat, Terry Gipson, in a contested count.) Most of the negotiations over the Senate leadership are happening quietly behind closed doors, with few Democratic leaders stepping forward to demand that their Democratic colleagues do something as basic as elect a leader from their own party or face consequences. The Working Families Party is said to be planning rallies around the state to get the rogue members in line. And the new Brooklyn Democratic chairman, Frank Seddio, has said he is looking for a way to expel Felder from the party for his treachery. Seddio is scheduled to speak to the Stonewall Democratic Club at the LGBT Community Center at 8 p.m. on November 28. Joined by Democratic political operative Hank Sheinkopf, Seddio will talk about the 2012 election results and prospects in next year’s municipal elections for mayor, City Council, and other offices. Veteran gay activist Allen Roskoff praised Seddio for his tough stance. “Now I’d like to see the Democratic leader of the state, Andrew Cuomo, do the same,” he said. Roskoff said he will recommend that the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, of which he is president, “dissociate itself from any elected Democrat who stands in the way of the Democratic Party controlling the State Senate.” The club’s board of governors includes Savino, an IDC member who has yet to declare herself in the leadership fight.


| November 21, 2012

HEALTH

13

Vaccine Study Spots Go Wanting Project ACHIEVE hopes gay, bi New York men come forward for HIV trial BY SAM SPOKONY

A

recruiter for a government-sponsored HIV prevention study thinks that members o f N e w Yo r k ’ s g a y community aren’t doing enough to get involved and educate themselves about the importance of finding an HIV vaccine. “There’s just a general feeling of complacency here, that it isn’t such a big deal,” said Damon Jacobs, a recruiter for Project ACHIEVE, a 20-year -old organization based in Union Square that specializes in research with the ultimate goal of eliminating new HIV infections in both men and women. The group is one of more than 20 sites nationwide — including, also in New York, the Columbia Univer sity Medical Center — currently being used to conduct HVTN-505, a clinical study designed to explore the efficacy of an investigational HIV vaccine regimen. Researchers believe the study could answer important questions leading to the discovery and development of effective vaccines in the future. HVTN-505, which began in August 2009, is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health.

REMEMBRANCE, from p.11

voting isn't a protest, it is an abrogation of your most minimal democratic obligation. Don't vote; relocate. Danke! Gracias! Merci! Obrigado! Salamat po! Grazie!” And in his speech two weeks ago at Tufts, he tackled a recurrent theme in his life — his status as a multi-racial man. “I am standing in front of you a black, white, Ojibwe, Afro-Boricua, HIV-positive queer man,” he said. “And I am just as black as any of you... No more high yellow and midnight blue conversations when talking about skin unless it’s to talk about how that high yellow or midnight blue person rocked your socks last night after that party and you are about to take his or her last name. I could give a damn about the style you wear your hair, fried died and laid to the side or afro-tastic, I am with Miss India.Arie, I am not my hair!” It was Aundaray Guess, a perfor mance artist who heads up Project Wipeout, which combats HIV stigma in faith-based institutions, who wrote on Huf fington Post that Campos

People who qualify to participate in the study are HIV-negative men between the ages of 18 and 50 who have had sex with another man in the past year. Although NIAID originally planned to enroll 1,350 participants, Jacobs explained that the study’s goal has since expanded to 2,500. He said that, as of October — after more than three years of recruitment in a dozen cities — the study has only gained around 2,200 participants. Few might expect that HVTN-505 would struggle to attract interest and participation in New York City, alongside cities such as Birmingham, Alabama, or Nashville, but Jacobs asserted that’s precisely what has happened. “The lack of response from our community has been the biggest obstacle so far,” he said. Jacobs didn’t provide a figure for how many have participated in the study at Project ACHIEVE to date, but he pointed out that San Francisco and Orlando have outpaced other cities heavily in their recruitment success, and that New York has yielded an overall response somewhere between “average and relatively good” compared to the other nine cities involved. Jacobs, who often goes to gay bars and nightclubs throughout the city to speak directly with men and inform

“would do some crazy shit.” But Guess’ essay continued with praise that was both extraordinary and completely in line with what others have witnessed about Campos’ life. “Sometimes the posts on his Facebook page would qualify as too much information, but in all honesty he did what a lot of us are so afraid to do: He lived,” Guess wrote. “He made his life have meaning and a purpose, and he didn't forget to have fun. He loved to love, and he loved to be in love. And that's what I feel made people gravitate to him. Simply look at his Facebook page and you'll see people from all walks of life. You'll see a rainbow of genders, sexual orientations, nationalities, and perspectives. And just from reading the last few days' posts, you'll see that he was someone who took the time to actually connect with people face-to-face, person-to-person, and who cooked from his soul as he fed not only stomachs but hearts.” Plans for a memorial service for William Brandon Lacy Campos, not yet finalized, will be reported when available.

them about the vaccine study, went on to say he believes the problem is primarily a cultural one. “New York is more of a ‘me’ town than a ‘we’ town,” he said. “Most people just say ‘no’ to participating without taking the time to learn about it, because if the disease isn’t already directly affecting them personally, they’re not interested.” Jacobs added that while the lack of interest thus far has been “disheartening,” he remains optimistic about recruiting new participants and finally reaching the national goal of 2,500. He was also quick to acknowledge the positive impact made by those New Yorkers who have joined HVTN-505 or other similar studies. Jacobs explained that he himself participated in an HIV vaccine study in 2006 and 2007, motivated in large part by the many friends he lost to AIDS throughout the ‘90s. “It felt really meaningful to be a part of that trial,” he said. HVTN-505 is a Phase 2 study, meaning that the vaccine regimen being investigated already passed an initial

study to determine its safety for use. Phase 2 studies, according to NIAID, are focused mainly on determining the efficacy of the drug being tested. Although the vaccine regimen being tested in this study is not expected to fully prevent HIV infection, researchers believe it could make a scientific breakthrough by effectively reducing the presence of the virus in people who eventually become HIV-positive, according to the NIAID website. The government agency also stated the vaccine regimen does not contain any living or dead strain of HIV, and so cannot inadvertently infect any participants in the vaccine study. To learn how to enroll in the HVTN505 study at Project ACHIEVE, call 212388-0008. To learn how to enroll at Columbia University Medical Center, call 212-305-2201. Anyone interested in learning more about the study can also visit nycvaccine.org. S a m S p o k o n y , a s t a ff r e p o r t e r at The Villager, can be reached at Sam@TheVillager.com.


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November 21, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

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ANTI-VIOLENCE VIGIL IN LOU RISPOLI’S MEMORY

BEFORE

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Now You Can Enjoy Fuller, Thicker, Looking Hair. AFTER Hundreds turned out for a November 17 vigil to remember Lou Rispoli, including Rispoli’s widowed husband, Danyal Lawson (center), who is joined by friend Mark Horn (left) and City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

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Hundreds of Sunnyside and Woodside residents in Queens and representatives of the New York City Anti-Violence Project and Make the Road New York joined Danyal Lawson to march against violence in memory of Lawson’s husband, Lou Rispoli, who was murdered in the early morning hours of October 20. The killing occurred at the corner of 41st Street and 43rd Avenue in Sunnyside. In his first public statement since Rispoli’s murder, Lawson said, “Lou really loved this neighborhood. We lived here together for 32 years. He loved our building. He loved the shopkeepers and restaurant owners. He was a man with a big heart, and he shared his great heart with everyone. He never felt afraid to walk the streets here. At any time. No one should feel afraid to walk these streets at any time.” Rispoli and Lawson married on the first day they were legally able to do so in New York State, in July 2011, and their wedding was reported in the New York Daily News the following day. Lawson explained that the marriage merely formalized a longtime sacred union between the two men. “The papers say we got married last year,”

said. “Legally, we’ve been married for one year. But we married each other the first time when we took a trip to Turkey and pledged ourselves to each other in the Topkapi Palace, just us two.” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, an out gay Democrat who represents the district and for whom Rispoli volunteered in his 2009 campaign, said, “Our community lost a friend, a family member, and a man who cared deeply about his neighborhood as well as you all. The suspects who did this must be brought to justice, and we cannot rest until they pay the price for taking Lou’s life.” Rispoli was attacked by three men and died five days later. The suspects, described as white and in their 20s, fled in a gray sports car. There is no information about whether the attack had an anti-gay motivation. The police department is offering a $22,000 reward to anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the killers. The NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline can be reached at 800-577-TIPS, nypdcrimestoppers.com, or via text at 274637 (CRIMES), and then entering TIP577. — Paul Schindler

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15

| November 21, 2012

BARS JOIN AIDS MEMORIAL FUND DRIVE ON DECEMBER 1

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR THE CENTER’S FACELIFT & ITS BLEMISHES October 28, 2012

Advocates of a permanent AIDS memorial to be built on a portion of parkland being developed adjacent to the former St. Vincent’s Hospital campus are enlisting the support of gay and lesbian bars across the city to help raise the $4 million needed to move the effort forward. The AIDS Memorial Park Project, which aims to honor the 100,000 New Yorkers who died of AIDS and the leadership of activists who responded to the crisis, will encompass a 1,600-square-foot triangle at the corner of a larger park planned for land situated between 12th Street, Seventh Avenue South, and Greenwich Avenue. The Project will also develop an online history and resource guide to the epidemic. The Project is providing volunteers for bars, who will ask for small donations of up to $5 from patrons

on December 1, which is World AIDS Day. As Gay City News goes to press on November 20, participating establishments include G Lounge, Barracuda, Industry, Therapy, the Eagle, Splash, and the Ritz. Of the $4 million budget, Project supporters hope to raise $1.15 million from individuals, $850,000 from foundation gifts, and roughly $2 million from government funding. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has already verbally pledged $1 million toward the project, and the park’s advocates are talking about a similar funding level from City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Bars interested in participating in the fundraising drive should contact Eric Sawyer at sawyere@ unaids.org or Paul Kelterborn at pkelterborn@gmail. com. — Paul Schindler

To the Editor: In "Ambitious Facelift Planned for LGBT Community Center" (by Paul Schindler, Oct. 10-23), you report on the Center's planned $7.5 million renovation and quote executive director Glennda Testone as saying it is part of "a vision for the Center that offers impeccable social services in a setting that everyone who walks in feels is reflective of their lives." But that $7.5 million 'vision' does not reflect the lives, per spectives, or aspirations of LGBT human rights activists or those of LGBT Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims and many queer immigrants living in New Yo r k C i t y w h o n o l o n g e r f e e l welcome at a center that has banned all mention of Palestine. Under the influence of a few wealthy anti-Arab and Islamo-

phobic donors and funders, the Center continues to ban all Palestine solidarity organizing, including meetings of the Siege B u s t e r s Wo r k i n g G r o u p a n d Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QAIA). Sadly, the Center's board and executive director have rejected the original vision that led to its founding — as an open space for all members of the community and a site for community organizing and political activism — in favor of one that reflects the values of the most privileged elements of our community. The Center is no longer a community center but rather a profit center that has abandoned all pretense of commitment to social justice. New York City Queers Against Israeli Apartheid

WRITE US! Send letters to the editor, of 250 words or less, to editor@ gaycitynews.com. We reserve the right to edit letters for space or legal considerations.

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November 21, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR PUBLISHER JENNIFER GOODSTEIN

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troy@gaycitynews.com EDITOR IN-CHIEF & CO-FOUNDER PAUL SCHINDLER

They’re Not Members of an Organized Political Party, They’re Democrats

editor@gaycitynews.com ASSOCIATE EDITOR

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Giving new life to the famous Will Rogers dictum about the lack of discipline among Democrats, that party, which had a surprisingly good day in State Senate contests on November 6, may be on the verge of throwing away a 33-30 majority they never expected to win. As Andy Humm reports on page 12, dissension in Democratic ranks — which in 2009 temporarily blew up the party’s Senate majority dur ing the only two-year term in more than 40 years in which it held control — has already led one newly elected senator, Simcha Felder, an Orthodox Jewish social conservative from Brooklyn, to announce he will caucus with the Republicans. It’s distressing, no doubt, to Democratic loyalists that someone can get their par ty’s nomination in an inaugural run for the Senate and announce days after winning election that he would withhold his vote from a fellow Democrat in the contest for majority leader. Still, Felder’s defection hardly n is har ardl dly y surprising given how w out ou ut of step with the

party his views are on questions like LGBT equality. In 2006, faced with the need to rally ‘round the consensus candidate for City Council speaker, Felder absented himself in the men’s room rather than cast a public vote for out lesbian Christine Quinn. The game of footsies that four other Democrats — the Independent Democratic Caucus (IDC) of Diane Savino, Jeff Klein, David Carlucci, and David Valesky, all progressives — are playing with the GOP is harder to fathom. They may be not like the Democratic conference’s unending power struggles or they may simply be hedging their bets since two tight races in which Democrats hold slim leads have not been definitively decided. It’s hard to see, though, how their views on bread and butter issues for their constituents — in the case of New York City Senators Savino and Klein, rent regulation prime among them — square with the policy prescriptions current Republican Majority Leader Dean Skelos represents. Some will question what stake the LGBT community has in this scramble. After all, three of the most signifi-

cant LGBT victories in New York State — marriage equality, the gay rights law, and hate crimes legislation that includes protections based on sexual orientation — were all passed by the Senate under Republican leadership. Our success in making the best of challenging terrain, however, should not be confused with embracing such an adverse environment from the get-go. The GOP did in fact show leadership in allowing a vote on gay marriage — which it had the power to block. It’s important to remember, however, that 29 of the 33 aye votes came from Democrats. M or e impo rt ant ly, whe n a crucial Judiciary Committee vote on the community’s current top priority — the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) — was held in June 2010, every Republican joined the anti-LGBT Bronx Democrat Ruben Diaz, Sr., in scuttling hopes for sending that measure to the Senate floor for a straight up or down tally. The GOP acquiesced to a vote on marriage equality last year in the face of a concerted push by Governor Andrew Cuomo on an issue whose

political currency now captivates the public imagination. What guarantees can Savino, Klein, and the others of fer that GENDA will get the same basic fair -play treatment? Especially when Cuomo himself is clearly showing no interest in the Democrats claiming the Senate majority they seem to have won. T o b e f a i r, t h e g o v e r n o r honored the good faith born out of his marriage equality negotiations with Republicans by of fering his support to two GOP senators — Roy McDonald and Stephen Saland — who voted yes only to find themselves in political trouble this year. Many LGBT advocates, including leading political funders, also stood with the four Republicans who stood with us last year. But, Cuomo and our community discharged our indebtedness — and even with significant help, McDonald and, it appears, Saland did not survive. As Cuomo trots out rhetoric about “coalition” leadership of the Senate — inviting additional defections from Democrats, perhaps including Diaz and Queens’ Malcolm Smith — he and the IDC members need to explain how that will advance progressive goals their supporters are eager to see achieved, now among them the enactment of GENDA. The governor sees a bright future for himself in the Democratic Party. He might find his interests are best served, however, by identifying himself with the Democratic wing win ing g of the Democratic Party.

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PERSPECTIVE C TIVE

The French Battle Over Gay Marriage

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© 2012 Gay City News. All rights reserved.

BY KELLY JEAN COGSWELL

O

ver in France, the legislature is getting ready to legalize samesex marriage and huge crowds of hardcore practicing Catholics are marching in protest, egged on by the whole Catholic hierarchy from

insignificant local priests to the pope in Rome, who apparently ordered the faithful to man the ramparts. Get out the boiling oil. Attack the disgusting sodomizing dogs before it's too late. And the local priests who usually mind their own business are running off at the mouth. A priest responsible for the Catholic community in Strasbourg

told his flock legalizing same-sex marriage would pave the way for incest, polygamy, murder, not to mention slavery, making France worse under the queers than under the Nazis. The ridiculous rhetoric repeated around the country would almost be funny if it didn't spark real violence. Unlike earlier peaceful march-

es, on November 18, a largely male crowd of anti-gay protesters from the militant, extremist group Civitas attacked counterdemonstrators, especially women and queers, as well as journalists who haven't exactly applauded their efforts. Some of their first victims were members of the Ukrainian feminist group FEMEN. These small brave women turned up to counter-demonstrate with their bare chests scrawled with slogans like "In gay we trust," little shorts, and those things on their heads that nuns wear. After trying to confront the crowd, they were

COGSWELL, continued on p.31


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| November 21, 2012

PERSPECTIVE

Brought to Light By Sandy, Homelessness All Too Often Forgotten BY RABBI SHARON KLEINBAUM

T

here was a new buzzword in the local media in the past few weeks... a new trend the press could not stop talking about — from the columnists at the New York Post and New York Daily News, to the dial-in reporters at 1010 WINS and WNYC, to the New York Times and the New Yorker. The word is “homeless.” More than 40,000 people in New Jersey and New York are estimated to be homeless in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Through my work with Shelter of Peace, a faith-based initiative to end LGBTQ youth homelessness, I know that prior to the storm almost 4,000 young people were homeless on the streets of New York City, and up to 40 percent of them identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. There were less than 250 publiclyfunded shelter beds in New York City

— plus perhaps 100 funded from other sources — for all homeless youth, and only 42 of these were safe and welcoming spaces for LGBTQ youth. These are teenagers who were homeless before the storm and will be homeless after the storm shelters close. Despite the youth homeless crisis that grew in the aftermath of the Great Recession, until Hurricane Sandy the word “homeless” was barely mentioned by major media outlets in New York. It took a devastating tragedy to bring the word back into public consciousness. In the past two years the mayor has cut the budget for homeless youth by over 50 percent. Just imagine the outcry that would take place if he took the same approach for victims of Sandy. While thousands of New Yorkers are just now experiencing homelessness and many more are only paying attention as they watch their neighbors and loved ones struggle, being homeless has become a permanent way of life for far too many.

Trying to stuff as many of your personal belongings as possible into a bag in the span of a few minutes. Asking for help from someone you might only casually know, hoping they’ll agree to lend a hand in your moment of need. Having to adjust to no privacy, giving up control over the lighting and temperature of your room, when or if you’ll bathe, making your personal belongings and your body vulnerable to strangers in order to take refuge in a public shelter. From the minor inconveniences to the heavy attacks on personal dignity, this is what 40,000 people had to learn to live with for a few weeks. A homeless person living on the street lives with this reality every day of their life. Most of those in New York and New Jersey left homeless by Hurricane Sandy will go back to new or refurbished homes eventually. Many are already returning to work and to their routines — Starbucks runs, 24-hour gym member ships, and more, while they look for new

All The News That Doesn’t Fit Anywhere Else BY SUSIE DAY

NYPD TO RACIALLY PROFILE WHITE MALES New York, NY — Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly announced today in a joint press conference that, following a recent study on race and “going-postal” homicides, the New York City Police Department will revamp its Stop and Frisk crime prevention policy by instructing officers to stop and frisk male Caucasians. Stating that their main concern was, per usual, the safety of the average citizen, Mr. Bloomberg explained, “We did one of those comprehensive studies where you get data and then you look at the data. We wanted to find out who’s most likely to gun down innocent New Yorkers — besides police officers just doing their job, I mean.” Commissioner Kelly cut in to elucidate: “We pored over decades of public homicide cases, pinpointing deranged shootings in just the last couple of years. The clear majority of perps were like that guy in Tucson who shot 18 people including Gabrielle Giffords; or that guy in Wisconsin who killed six people at that Sikh temple; or that guy in Colorado who shot up that midnight showing of “Batman”; or that Norwegian guy who killed 77 people; or, lest we forget, that guy here in Manhattan who shot an ex-coworker at the Empire State Building. The list goes on.” “Using science,” Mayor Bloomberg added, “we were

able to ascertain that the shooters had two things in common — they were male and they were pale.” According to noted forensic whitemanologists, recent laboratory tests show that the hormone testosterone can undergo a pronounced chemical exacerbation in those Caucasoids who possess the XY chromosome and a relative dearth of the epidermal pigment melanin. If exposed to certain socioeconomic factors, this condition can produce a carbon-based, bilaterally symmetrical, rage-filled, dude-like organism whose desire to be King of the Universe comes into direct conflict with his inability to get a really good tan at the beach. His rage festers until the white male organism feels that there is no alternative but to buy a sunhat, get some guns, go out, and mow people down. “We were blown away — nonviolently, of course — to learn that just about every marauding psycho in our study was badass and beige,” Mr. Bloomberg concluded. “And there we were, assuming that the danger to society was black and brown men. Was our face red.” “Henceforth, we pledge to use our white supremacy for good,” declared Commissioner Kelly. “Also, we figure that if we start racially profiling white people, the NAACP and the New York Civil Liberties Union will finally stop dissing us.” As the mayor went on to repeat the entire press conference in his inimitable Spanish, Grover Boynton, a high school basketball coach who happened to attend the event, expressed concern.

arrangements and figure out next steps. The homeless in our society, whom the media often forget, will go back to life as they knew it. Most of the LGBTQ homeless youth had no family network to rely on during the storm because they were forced out of their childhood homes and shunned by their families. We learned during the AIDS crisis that silence from the media and from public figures allowed the deadly disease to flourish. During our homeless crisis we must urge our media not to be silent on this issue. We must continue to use the word “homeless” as long as there are people living on the streets without a warm bed to sleep in, including a substantial and extra vulnerable LGBTQ youth population. Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum is the senior rabbi of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (cbst.org), a vibrant spiritual community and a progressive voice within Judaism. Founded in 1973, CBST attracts and welcomes gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, queer, and straight individuals and families who share common values. Passionate, provocative, and deeply Jewish, CBST champions a Judaism that rejoices in diversity, denounces social injustice wherever it exists, and strives for human rights for all people.

“I sure hope this doesn’t mean that white folks will stop seeing African-American men as threatening,” said Mr. Boynton. “White people who avoid sitting next to me on the subway or who step away from me on the street are about the only way society lets me know I exist. Yo, I better go buy me another hoodie.”

WIKILEAKS: HATING AHMADINEJAD PROMOTES SOUND ECOLOGY Washington, DC — The rogue news source Wikileaks has released four years of confidential emails consisting of some 50,000 interchanges between President Barack Obama and representatives of various Western governments. According to the main thread, world leaders — depressed that nine countries already possess about 22,000 nuclear weapons capable at any moment of creating global Armageddon —– decided to distract themselves and everybody else with inane quandaries over whether Iran is about to make a nuclear bomb. “OMG guys,” writes the newly elected President Obama in an email dated January 26, 2009, “the American people have suffered so much from this economy. How can I tell them that, given the unstable world situation, they should also worry about thermonuclear war — not to mention nuclear waste disposal, power plant radiation leaks, climate change, global warming, and the death of the Earth as we’ve known it? :( :( :( ” An as yet unidentified UN ambassador responds: “Just do as our gouvernement does when it is tired of defending its anti-Islamic ban on face-veils. We accuse Iran of lying about its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities. Le LOL!” A transcript of the ensuing discussion follows:

SUSIE DAY, continued on p.31


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November 21, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

THEATER

Look of Love An earnest, tuneful tribute to Dusty Springfield hits both sweet and sour notes BY DAVID KENNERLEY

f jukebox musicals have to work overtime stringing a motley collection of hit songs into a cohesive show, then the biojukebox musical faces an even trickier task: How to tell the true life story of the performer, often spanning decades, without skimping on dramatic momentum. All the while showcasing the musical talents of the original artist to maximum effect.

I

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Some efforts fail spectacularly — remember “Lennon” that flashed on Broadway in 2005? I didn’t think so. “Jersey Boys” (the Four Seasons, still

JOAN MARCUS

FOREVER DUSTY

Kirsten Holly Smith and Christina Sajous in “Forever Dusty.”

a colossal crowd pleaser), and “Love, Janis” (Janis Joplin) are two rare biotuners that got it right. Last season’s “End of the Rainbow” (Judy Garland, as evoked by the stunning T racie Bennett) also was a winner, partly by focusing on a specific time period.

The latest entry into the genre is “Forever Dusty” (as in Dusty Springfield, the first big female pop vocalist of the 1960s) now playing at the New World Stages Off Broadway, which falls squarely in the middle. Creators Kirsten Holly Smith, who also plays the

title role, and Jonathan Vankin are so enamored with the blue-eyed singer they felt compelled to cram in as many biographical touchstones as possible. Yet it plays somewhat like a Wikipedia entry with a sensational soundtrack. Not that you can blame them. Born Mary Isobel Catherine Ber nadette O’Brien in North London, Dusty’s unlikely rise to international stardom with six top-20 singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 Chart and 16 on the UK Singles Chart, is a juicy story. Her unexpected soulful style prompted the press to dub her “The White Negress.” “Forever Dusty” dutifully chronicles her time in Catholic school, performing with the Lana Sisters and then her brother’s group, the Springfields (fun fact — they chose the name because it sprung up so many times on a US map, prefiguring “The Simpsons”), and her soaring solo career. We see Dusty getting deported from South Africa for insisting on only play-

DUSTY, continued on p.23

Practice What You Preach Amy Semple McPherson ignited believers, but the musical about her life fizzles he emergence of the modern evangelical movement as an entertainment and marketing machine can be traced to Aimee Semple McPherson, the early 20th century Hollywood preacher who became a celebrity and sensation. Whether she was seen as leading her flock or merely fleecing them largely depended on an individual’s desire to believe.

T

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There is no question she did good for some, but she was also embroiled in a sex scandal. McPherson was certainly a threat to the mainstream church. She was also the second woman to have

“last sermon” in her Los Angeles temple to tell her story. McPherson is all but unknown to a contemporary audience, though we’re all way too familiar with her descendents — Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, and the lot of them who sell feel-good religion on a la P.T. Barnum in books, on TV, and in mega-churches. In simply telling the story’s established facts, Gifford misses the obvious opportunity to take us inside McPherson so we can understand what drove this pioneering celebrity in the nascent mass media culture. It’s as if Gifford is so enamored of her subject she is unwilling to show us a darker side or plumb the inherent conCarolee Carmello and Edward Watts in “Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson,” with book and music by flicts in McPherson’s makeup. Instead, Kathie Lee Gifford, David Pomeranz, and David Friedman. the story just plods along. There are no real relationships among the characGiven this material to work with, ters and no subplots. The dramatic arc a radio license and virtually invented the broadcast preaching business. She book writer Kathie Lee Gifford has is unsophisticated and robs the piece fought the Ku Klux Klan and racism. unfortunately turned out a convention- of the moments that would cry out for She was complex, caring, corrupt, and al, chronological biography that traces songs. In fact, the songs seem simply above all charismatic, the kind of char- McPherson’s life from a girl in a Cana- dropped into the storytelling. That said, Gifford often writes strong acter who should be at the center of a dian religious community through the huge Broadway production — one as eve of the verdict in her trial for faking a dialogue and knows how to build a epic as her theatrically staged sermons kidnapping to run off to Mexico with her lover. The conceit is that she is giving a were. 䉴 SCANDALOUS, continued on p.23 JEREMY DANIEL

BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE


23

| November 21, 2012

DUSTY, from p.22

ing in racially integrated venues (she was one of the first artists to make a political statement denouncing segregation), her unhealthy reliance on vodka and cocaine, her getting sober, her comeback starting with the Pet Shop Boys, a reunion with her brother (Sean Patrick Hopkins), her tragic bout with breast cancer, and much more. Directed by Randal Myler (lauded for “Love, Janis”), the endearing show doesn’t shy away from portraying Dusty’s intimate, long-term bond with Claire (Christina Sajous), who gave support through her early career. They hold hands, look deep into each other’s eyes, and bicker about having to hide their love from the public. After one particularly poignant duet, they kiss, passionately and full-on, one of the show’s sweetest moments. Another touching scene finds Dusty finally admitting to a journalist, “I know that I am as perfectly capable of being swayed by a girl as a boy. More and more people feel that way. And I don’t see why I shouldn’t!” The jukebox is stocked with many iconic hits like “Son of a Preacher Man,” “I Only Want to Be With You,” and “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me.” Plus a few gems you may not recognize. Smith is a worthy Dusty, belting out sultry ballads and upbeat ditties with soulful, throaty panache. With her trademark peroxide-blonde beehive, panda eyes, and mod dresses

SCANDALOUS, from p.22

scene. Her lyrics are often sharp and funny. The music by David Pomeranz and David Friedman, with additional music by Gifford, is big and bright, but it never really strikes any emotional chords, and where the gospel music should lift up our hearts — at the very least — it feels generic. As with “Leap of Faith” last season, no amount of pumped up energy can give depth to a story when none is there. Carolee Carmello as McPherson gets a chance to show off her otherworldly pipes. She is one of the strongest singers on Broadway and throws herself into the show as completely as anyone could. Still, Carmello is hampered by the script that forces us to take it on faith that she was able to change lives. Rule number one of playwriting: don’t tell us, show us. The only other significant role in the show is Emma Jo Schaeffer, the madam turned scribe when she falls under the spirit of McPherson. Roz Ryan turns in a bold performance in the role, even if she is often reduced to an African-American stereotype. Poor George Hearn, who plays Brother Bob, the man who was McPherson’s enemy in the religious

(her trendsetting look helped define the swinging ‘60s), Smith certainly looks the part. And yet, too often we sense she’s impersonating the pop star rather than fully inhabiting the persona. Dusty was a shrewd musician who was a diva in the recording studio because she refused to compromise her art. Once she insisted on recording in a bathroom to capitalize on the acoustics. We learn she had low self-esteem and took a lifetime to accept her perceived imperfections. Dusty’s distinctive look was not all marketing. The singer admits, “The bigger the hair, the blacker the eyes, the more I can hide.” There are moments where powerhouse Sajous steals the spotlight, such as in the duet “The Look of Love,” which the women essentially sing to each other. In a host of supporting roles, Coleen Sexton and Benim Foster are remarkably versatile. To evoke the myriad scenes, designers Wilson Chin and Richard Dibella have devised a backdrop alive with projected images of recording studios, apartments, concert halls, newspaper headline montages, and so on. At times, however, the images overwhelm rather than clarify the action. A note from the creators states that their main goal was to be “as truthful as possible in bringing you the soul and spirit of Dusty, which, like her music, lives on forever.” In that regard, the ambitious “Forever Dusty” admirably succeeds.

community, doesn’t even get a song. Louella Parsons and William Randolph Hearst, two other antagonists, also make appearances. A smarter show would have given these three a number to set them up in opposition to McPherson. There are love interests in smaller parts. Edward Watts plays Robert Semple, who died of malaria in China after he and Aimee married and went off on a mission. Watts also plays David Hutton, the young man in McPherson’s productions who gets all the Biblical beefcake parts (Samson, Moses, etc.) and is embroiled in her scandal. Watts is a strong singer who has much more Broadway in his future. McPherson ultimately chooses Hutton over the married radio technician Kenneth Ormiston — played with abundant charm by Andrew Samonsky — with whom she flirts recklessly. Unfortunately, aside from one clever second act song, both Ormiston’s and Hutton’s characters are flat and static. McPherson died of a drug overdose in 1946 and became a footnote to history, languishing in obscurity until Gifford revived her. I was fascinated when this show was announced and had so hoped it would work better. But while the spirit was willing, the show is weak.

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November 21, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

THEATER

Man in the Midst of a Nervous Breakdown Ethan Hawke soars, plunges in “Ivanov” BY ANDY HUMM ’m not crazy about tragedies about crazy people whose mental illness — rather than a tragic flaw — explains their downfall. The tragedy of Willy Loman, with all those voices in his head, wasn’t the hollowness of the American Dream, but a character without access to good meds.

I

IVANOV

Chekhov’s “Ivanov” at the Classic Stage Company is a hot steeping mess of crazy, redeemed by an incredibly intense performance by Ethan Hawke in the lead. It is three hours of non-stop depression and self-destruction that may end predictably (“Chekhov’s gun,” always sure to go off according to theater lore, makes its appearance in the opening scene). Nonetheless, it is a wonder to behold, especially in the close quarters at CSC, where the audience hugs a stage full of characters desperately in need of hugs — or at least some Prozac, a good century away from being invented. Instead, the characters consume an inordinate amount of vodka that we now know does not drown our sorrows but exacerbates them. Santo Loquasto’s dingy set and Marco Piemontese’s costumes of faded pastels and earth tones add to the down mood. Chekhov wrote “Ivanov” in 1887, nine years before commencing his most mature work (“Seagull,” “Uncle Vanya,” “Three Sisters,” and “Cherry Orchard”) that

JOAN MARCUS

Classic Stage Company 136 E. 13th St. Through Dec. 9 Tue. at 7 p.m.; Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sat.-Sun. at 3 p.m. Plus Nov. 21 & Dec. 5 at 3 p.m. Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. No evening performances Nov. 21-23 $55-65; ClassicStage.org Or 212-352-3101 Ethan Hawke in the title role of Chekhov’s “Ivanov,” directed by Austin Pendleton and running through December 9.

immortalized him just before his untimely death at 44 in 1904. Kudos to CSC for including this early work in its Chekhov Cycle, as it is rarely performed. (The last Broadway productions starred Kevin Kline at Lincoln Center in 1997 and John Gielgud on Broadway in ’66.) When Chekhov got the commission for “Ivanov,” he wrote a friend that he “would make a good job of it because I really know how to play on people’s nerves,” and he poured out a script in two weeks. When it opened, he called it “a wretched piece of crap” that upset the audience so much they were “nearly coming to blows.” Apparently, they were more upset by the long stretches of naturalistic interactions between the troubled characters than about the dramatic introductions of infidelity and suicide. Humankind cannot bear very much reality, as T.S. Eliot said.

When the audience enters at CSC, Ivanov (Hawke) is already lying in bed in the middle of day, trying unsuccessfully to concentrate on a book, but often curling up in a hopeless ball trying to sleep. He’s got the sadz bad and knows it, indifferent to his beautiful but sickly wife, Anna (Joely Richardson), and turned on by a friend’s daughter, Sasha (Juliet Rylance), though unable to let her love take him away from his misery. Borkin (Glenn Fitzgerald) is the upbeat, go-getter manager of Ivanov’s estate whose optimism makes Ivanov even more depressed. Lvov, the local doctor (Jonathan Marc Sherman), relentlessly equates Ivanov’s down mood with moral sloth and gets no argument from Ivanov, who accepts these condemnations and has the self-awareness to know he cannot do anything about them. Director Austin Pendleton, who ably stepped into the role of Ivanov’s friend Lebedev when Louis Zorich became indisposed, wants us to see the absurdity in all of these interactions, and there is laughter to be had, especially in the funny pronouncements of Lebedev and, more so, Count Shabelsky (George Morfogen), Ivanov’s uncle. These passages feel more like Samuel Beckett (“Waiting for Ivanov to Kill Himself”) than Chekhov or the Hamlet that Ivanov himself quotes, often punctuated by yelling (to wake the audience up?) and some inaudible whispering (to get us to lean in and listen hard?). It is difficult to hold our attention when the dramatic arc is clearly not going anywhere, but this game company puts their all into trying in performances large and small. The triumph of this production is that Hawke does make us care about the deeply troubled Ivanov, precisely because he fully humanizes him, warts (including some disturbing treatment of his once-Jewish wife) and all. For all his craziness, he is not deluded and shows us all too clearly the pain that drives him to his end. “When there is hope, you can be happy — even in old age,” the Count says. None of that for Ivanov.

DANCE

Dance Gets Better New York performers join effort to combat LGBT youth bullying BY GUS SOLOMONS JR he dance community has recently come together to bolster the momentum against bullying of LGBT youth in America and internationally. In the wake of a visible wave of suicides by gay teens several years ago, Dan Savage, a journalist and gay dad, and his husband Terry Miller initiated a campaign that aims to assuage the despair young men and women in isolated and unfriendly parts of the country — as well as in many accepting communities, too often — can feel. It Gets Better, a series of video testimonials from celebrities, athletes, and elected officials including President Barack Obama, aims to provide young

T

people an antidote to the torment they experience at the hands of others and the internal turmoil they go through in handling sexual feelings that don’t seem to match those of anybody around them. In conjunction with Dance/ NYC, Sydney Skybetter, Tim Cynova, and Jen Edwards of Sky/ Nova, and dancer/ cameraman Jordan Isadore invited a group of New York dance performers together in early June at Gibney Dance Center to record video spots for a dancer-centered branch of the campaign. Dancers, as a breed, aren’t known for activism, but since AIDS touched so many of our lives so intimately we began to shed our traditional passivity. In fact, the ubiquitous perception of “obedience” as a defining characteristic of dancers — “just tell me where to go and what step to do” — is a myth, and increasingly we

instead see a public assertiveness. Especially among up and coming artists, passivity is antithetical to survival, artistic and financial. Skybetter, a gay ally who, albeit hetero, suffered bullying as a kid, pointed out that It Gets Better “can be read as too pacifist, a ‘just wait it out’ approach to anti-bullying, as opposed to an ‘act NOW’ stance.” Still, awareness can be paired with action, among young people just as among dancers. “The dance community is an historically disempowered bunch,” Skybetter said. “We just don’t think it has to stay that way.” Stephen Petronio agreed, acknowledging he learned early on that his misfit qualities are exactly what make

DANCE, continued on p.25


| November 21, 2012

FILM

25

The Song Is Over Robert Carlyle’s soulful loser can’t quite animate “California Solo” BY GARY M. KRAMER alifornia Solo” is a laidback character study about a has-been musician. The film, written and directed by Marshall Levy, takes the form of a redemption song. When Lachlan MacAldonich (Robert Carlyle, who starred in “The Full Monty” and now appears on ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”) is first introduced, the former Britpop performer is doing a podcast called “Flame-Outs.” He narrates stories of the “tragic, sometimes spectacular deaths of great musicians.”

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Directed by Marshall Levy Strand Releasing Opens Nov. 30 Quad Cinema 34 W. 13th St. quadcinema.com

Lachlan is a flame-out himself, of course. While he did not die young like his band-mate brother Jed, Lachlan is now out of the music business almost completely. After failing in going it alone on an album called “California Solo,” he is managing an organic farm a few hours from Los Angeles. Lachlan also has a serious drinking problem, caused no doubt by the regrets that we come to understand over the course of the film. In its opening moments, he is pulled over by a cop for an aggravated DUI. The event has unexpected consequences — though the Scotsman has a green card, he now faces deportation because of prior legal

Robert Carlyle in Marshall Levy’s “California Solo.”

troubles for drug possession. Watching Carlyle — who shows a world-weariness on his hangdog face throughout “California Solo” — suffer as a self-destructive man forms the backbone of this modest film. When Lachlan tries to raise money from his former manager (Michael des Barres) to pay his mounting legal bills, he is dismissed. He later swallows his pride and tracks down his ex-wife, Catherine (Kathleen Wilhoite), to ask for her help. He could stay in the country for reasons of “extreme hardship” if she is willing to make a claim that their teenage daughter, Arianwen (Savannah Lathem), who is estranged from her father, in fact

needs him around. Catherine reluctantly agrees to discuss the situation with Lachlan. These scenes work in showing the way Lachlan’s selfishness sabotaged his ability to maintain relationships, and he’s apparently not learned much. He abuses the goodwill of his long-suffering co-worker Warren (A Martinez) and demonstrates little patience for his lawyers and their efforts to resolve his legal problems. The only bright spot in Lachlan’s life is the attention he gets from Beau (Alexia Rasmussen), a customer at the organic farm stand. Their relationship, however, is neither compelling nor con-

DANCE, from p.24

him the artist he is today. So deeply ingrained is homophobia that many openly gay participants “of a certain age” still felt the need to be “discreet” about stating their own sexuality in so many words, even while encouraging the target audience of youth to find solace in the take-it-on-faith assurance that “it gets better.” Some were supportive in non-confessional ways. Janis Brenner sang and gestured German philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein’s phrase “How small a thought it takes to fill a whole life,” which Steve Reich turned into a musical piece. Those 11 words can have profound implications — positive or negative — for one subjected to vicious taunting or violence. Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass did an upbeat, wordless

SKY/ NOVA

STRAND RELEASING

CALIFORNIA SOLO

Sydney Skybetter was among the dance artists who participated in the It Gets Better project.

duet of hand clapping, shoulder wagging, and mutual glances that say “solidarity,” whatever the cause or matter.

Some people read carefully drafted statements they had devised; others were totally ad-lib. Responses ranged

vincing. They meet for drinks and dinner and even spend a night together, but nothing sexual develops. The suggestion that their bond is based on Beau’s sadness over a breakup with her boyfriend is never pursued. Beau could be an appealing character, but her interest in Lachlan is never fully explained. The romantic tension between the two proves an annoying dead-end for the audience. The film’s real drama stems from the money and legal issues that hang over Lachlan like the Sword of Damocles. These problems point up the deeper truths that inform his character. His reluctance to return home to the UK or to consider selling the Les Paul guitar his brother used provides nice touches subtly conveyed. Does Lachlan deserve sympathy? His friends seem to think so, but “California Solo” also emphasizes his bad behavior. Against his lawyer’s advice, he continues driving and binge drinking, as well as treating his friends and family badly and skipping work. Levy challenges the idea that Lachlan can ever find redemption. “California Solo” works best when Lachlan is drunk and self-pitying, giving a confessional podcast about brother Jed or going on a bender. Carlyle gives a committed performance, and these scenes are painful to watch. The actor is also soulful when he sings to Beau one night and has a touching exchange with Arianwen late in the film. But too often Lachlan’s bad decisions, which should be heartbreaking, are instead merely frustrating to watch. A strong central performance by Carlyle and fine supporting turns by Martinez and Wilhoite are not enough to help “California Solo” avoid missing the mark.

from spiritual to practical, from defiant to rational. Some spoke of having “feelings” they didn’t know how to deal with; others were picked on, called names, and beat up. It’s striking how different each statement is from another, albeit tackling the same issue. Some more or less let the taunting roll off their backs, while other were nearly driven to end their lives to escape it, we learn. But these affirmations by the dance community concisely and articulately affirm that the disempowerment of dancers — on this subject, at least — is becoming a thing of the past. The NYC Dance Community Group Message can be viewed at http://youtu. be/z0DNhefu4DI. The complete NYC Dance Community playlist is at http:// tinyurl.com/ch563cm.


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November 21, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

OPERA

Fumbling the “Ballo” David Alden’s dramatic conceits froze out Verdi opera’s power BY ELI JACOBSON or mer bad-boy director turned respected grand seigneur David Alden made his Metr opolitan Opera debut with a new production of Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera.” Alden overlaid his production with three parallel dramatic concepts, but they failed to coalesce into a compelling unified whole, instead adding layers of distracting artifice undercutting Verdi’s solid dramatic values. Concept 1: “Mythical Metaphor.” A large painting representing the Fall of Icarus, the Greek youth who attempted to fly to heaven on waxen wings and fell to earth when they melted in the heat of the sun, served as the show curtain. It also hung over the action in an omnipresent ceiling fresco. Evidently it symbolizes Gustavo’s reckless, overreaching abuse of his power. The pageboy Oscar danced around during the prelude costumed in a pair of white wings as an Icarus/ Gustavo surrogate — even miming his fall to death. This heavy-handed metaphor was compounded by one of the oldest and most tired tricks in the regie playbook, which was Concept 2: “It Was All a Dream.” This trope dates back at least to the Steer man’s dream in Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s mid-1970s “Flying Dutchman.” Before that there was Dorothy’s odyssey in “The Wizard of Oz” — some of you homosexuals may be familiar with that movie and its star, Judy Garland. The conceit reached its nadir in 1986 when Bobby Ewing stepped out of the shower on a season finale episode of “Dallas.” After watching Oscar’s fallen angel dance, Gustavo falls asleep in an armchair during the prelude and dreams the whole thing. We do not see him wake up in the chair or step out of the shower at the end of the opera having gained greater self-knowledge of his fatal Greek hero hubris. So where all this was intended to go is beyond me. Concept 3: “Hello Dalí!” The metaphorical and dreamlike elements are carried over into the surrealist landscape that Alden imposes on Ver di’s 18th century Sweden. “Ballo,” unlike Verdi’s other middle period opera, does not have one overriding dramatic mood or tinta but instead blends opera buffa elegance and gaiety with dark powerful drama. Alden

KEN HOWARD/ METROPOLITAN OPERA

F

Dolora Zajick and Sondra Radvanovsky in Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschera."

apparently concluded that this shifting tone and underlying unease lent themselves to surrealism. Paul Steinberg’s sets, with their skewed angles and mirrored sur faces, borrow from de Chirico and Dalí. Renato’s house resembled a nightmarish black and white box from “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.” The bowler -hatted zombie chorus is costumed by Brigitte Reiffenstuel à la Magritte.

audience without artsy conceptual filters. Alden was booed lustily at the opening night curtain calls. Unlike Piero Faggioni, the director of the previous overstuf fed pageant of a Met production, Alden actually did have ideas about the opera. The problem is that there were too many and most were misguided. He did, however, provide the singers with enlivening personal direction. I have never seen Marcelo Álvarez, the Gustavo, project more personality or move better on stage. Similarly, Sondra Radvanovsky can seem dramatically awkwar d and clueless when left to her own devices. Here, she riveted the audience’s attention from her first entrance to her anguished reaction to her lover’s murder at the final curtain. But the production seemed to under cut dramatic cr edibility at crucial emotional moments. The gallows-heath set for Act II had the

Verdi’s action, based on an historical regicide, is very realistic and needs to be presented to the audience without artsy conceptual filters. The action seems to be updated to the 1930s with the men in threepiece suits and Amelia wearing Adrian or Orry-Kelly evening gowns. However, Verdi’s action, based on an historical regicide, is very realistic and needs to be presented to the

Falling Icarus canvas hanging over the action center stage. In the passionate climax of the great Act II love duet, the Icarus painting was raised and the back of the stage opened to show a desolate landscape with barren trees and telephone poles. Amelia and Riccardo sang their passionate avowals of love far apart on opposite sides of the stage. Wouldn’t it have made sense to start the scene with the desolate landscape and bring in the Icarus painting when the King loses himself in his self-destructive passion for Amelia, with the adulterous lovers coming physically closer together? It was as if Alden had a constant need to intervene between the audience and the work itself. The resulting effect of alienation drove the dramatic temperature below freezing. Álvarez is yet another Latin lyric tenor pushing a sweet lyric voice to emulate the spinto power he was not endowed with by nature. He punches out the tone, breaking up the vocal line with bumpy phrasing. In Gustavo’s Act III romanza “Ma se m’è forza perderti,” Álvarez poured out the honeyed tone that established him as a leading lyric tenor more than 15 years ago. Dmitri Hvorostovsky began rather stiffly as Renato/ Anckarström but rose to passionate heights in a nobly sung “Eri tu.” Radvanovsky’s taut, dark soprano with its tense vibrato embodies the secret guilty passion that tears Amelia apart. She effectively used chest voice on the low notes, and an occasional metallic quality did not diminish the excitement and accuracy of her high notes. Kathleen Kim has a buttery warmth in her tone that kept Oscar from tur ning into a squeaky soubrette automaton. Dolora Zajick, despite some loss of vocal power and thrust, still commands the brilliant high notes and deep contralto low notes with which Ulrica’s part abounds. A fine group of singers and a spir ited, precise conductor leading a world-class orchestra provided some heat and light. Fabio Luisi conducted with clarity and animation but during several ensembles the soloists and orchestra failed to come together for the tutti climax. But these musical coordination problems were momentary. Dramatically, “Ballo” was all over the place and failed to come together throughout.


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| November 21, 2012

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November 21, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

IN THE NOH

A ‘Sound Of Music’ Gay Infusion Hibbert & Franz out & proud, Graham & Uggams delight the ears BY DAVID NOH aper Mill Playhouse is reviving that most wholesome of musicals, “The Sound of Music” (Millburn, NJ, through Dec. 30; papermill.org), and our tribe is being gloriously represented in it by two out and proud actors, Edward Hibbert and Joy Franz. Hibbert is playing impresario Max Detweiler and, at the press preview held at the New 42nd Street Studios on November 14, he told me, “I had never done this show before, so when I got the chance I thought, ‘It’s Christmas. I can live at home and commute to the Paper Mill, which I’m very fond of. What’s not to love?’ And it’s something of a reunion for me because I did ‘Me and My Girl’ on Broadway and met our director Jimmy Brennan and music director Tom Helm, so it’s nice to be back in business with them. “I love this part of Uncle Max. I have these two songs [both cut from the film version], both duets with Donna English [as Elsa]. As the show unfolds, you have all these beautiful songs we know so well and suddenly we veer almost into Cole Porter Land with ‘How Does Love Survive?’ — witty lyrics, interesting melody, very catchy — and our second act song, ‘No Way to Stop It,’ also kind of fun. It’s a little respite from all that sweetness — champagne after the candy.” Hibbert was born in America of English parents: “My father, God rest his soul, was an actor and I have to thank him and the success of ‘The Boyfriend’ he did on Broadway with a then unknown 19-year -old Julie Andrews, which gave me my American birthright. I was taken back to England, grew up there, and trained at RADA, and was happily working and doing all the things you do afterwards, and suddenly thought, ‘I should take a look at the town where I was born.’ I came over and had a look-see, then decided to give it a go and live here. “For a while, I was doing stuff in London and New York and then in the late ‘80s, I did ‘Jeffrey’ [a breakout role for him]. I had never thought about Los Angeles, but we were invited to open it in LA. I thought, ‘Help!’ but it was fortunate as it opened up a lot of doors, including what was written as a guest shot as this food critic on the first season of ‘Frasier,’ which suddenly and very happily became a heavily recurring character for 11 seasons. “It was one of those blessed experiences, working with the likes of Kelsey [Grammer], David [Hyde Pierce], who remains a very close friend, John Mahoney, Peri [Gilpin], Jane [Leeves], all fantastic people. And the scripts were like doing a Kaufman-Hart comedy every week, superb, and I think the end of an era, sadly.” Asked if the show has caused him to be recognized on the street, Hibbert replied, “Yes, and what’s interesting is I get it a lot in England. Everyone adores that show over there. It has a kind of very English comedic sensibility, and I get people shouting out, ‘Hi, Gil!’ in the West End and it’s very gratifying.” Hibbert has a surprising other career, as a literary agent.

EDWARDHIBBERT.COM

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DIRTY SUGAR PHOTOGRAPHY

Edward Hibbert is the impresario Max Detweiler in the Papermill production of “The Sound of Music,” running through December 30.

Joy Franz comes to “The Sound of Music” with strong experience working with Stephen Sondheim.

“I manage to juggle the two. I had a very dear friend who sadly died, Eric Ashworth, who was one of the most successful young agents in New York and was in partnership with an extraordinary woman, Candida Donadio, who basically discovered Thomas Pynchon, Mario Puzo. “I had gotten back from doing ‘Ir ma Vep’ in London, which was exhausting, as you might know. I thought I wanted to take a little time off, and Eric said, ‘I am desperately in need of someone who’s smart to come in and work in the office.’ I was and remain an inveterate bookworm, so I went in to work with him and it was a

pleasure. Then Candida was seeking to take more time at home and Eric’s health sadly diminished, so, suddenly, rather like throwing a child into a lake, I was asked to take on more and more responsibility. “There’s no training to be an agent as there is for an actor, so I basically absorbed all their brilliance and have kept it going partly as an homage to Eric and partly because I’m in such awe of writers. As an actor, I’m told where to go, what to wear, and what to say, but no one says, ‘Get up in the morning and write the great American novel or a biography.’ I keep my list very small. I represent Chuck Palahniuk, author of ‘Fight Club,’ who’s gone on to some extraordinary novels. He writes with great regularity. Ed Sikov, a wonderful biographer, and Christopher Bram, a New York-based wonderful gay writer who’s probably most known for ‘The Father of Frankenstein,’ which went on to become the movie ‘Gods and Monsters.’ “Occasionally, my two worlds bleed over. Kelsey Grammer purchased the rights to ‘Uncle Mame’ by Eric Myers, about the man who wrote ‘Auntie Mame.’ Eric’s also now an agent, so, you see, everyone’s doing it.” I asked Hibbert if he’d always been out as a gay man: “I hope so, otherwise we’re all in a lot of trouble! Very funny story going back a few years: Someone asked, ‘How long has Edward Hibbert been straight?’ What it was, there was an article in the Advocate about the gay sensibility of ‘Frasier,’ a very gay-friendly show. It said that one of the ironies is that the macho Bulldog is played by out gay actor Dan Butler, while the ef fete r estaurant critic is played by straight Edward Hibbert. I said, ‘Get your facts straight, Mary!’ They then sorted it out, so ther e was another article about coming out on prime time, and they wrote, ‘Edward Hibbert, who officially comes out in this article.’ I thought, ‘Well, it’s taken a very long time!’ “No, absolutely, it was never a question of hiding for me. There are people who say things like, ‘I have a private life and that’s why it’s called private,’ and I don’t particularly relish talking about the highs and lows of my relationships. I am in one at the moment and am quite happy, it’s quite new, but I think to just be able to talk articulately about one’s sexuality is good. “To be honest with you, David, they talk about there being no homophobia in Hollywood. There is. We’ve come a long way with ‘Will & Grace,’ and I just did an episode of a new show called ‘Partners,’ about two best friends, one gay, one straight. It’s more and more in the mainstream, but still think there is this small, unspoken homophobia that percolates. “And all those gay casting directors, who are ironically homophobic toward gay actors — they’re totally the worst! They’ll say, ‘Well, you know this character’s got a wife.’ and you wanna go, ‘Yeah, well, that’s why we’re actors.’ I’m sure there are some very good hetero actors who can play gay believably, and, likewise, vice versa.”

IN THE NOH, continued on p.29


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| November 21, 2012

IN THE NOH, from p.28

doing several Sondheim shows. She told me, “I was Cinderella’s mother i n t h e o r i g i n a l ‘ I n t o t h e Wo o d s . ’ Steve said he had me in mind for it when he wrote it and I didn’t have to audition. He always liked the way I enunciated — you could hear all his words. I was in ‘A Little Night Music’ as part of the quintet — with the high E flat — and, for a time, was Glynis Johns’ secretary. She loved how organized I was and how I dressed and made a dinner, so for a month I cleaned her shoes and answered her phone. But she got angry with me when I quit because I didn’t have the time between auditions. I would also massage Hermione Gingold’s neck but I never saw her without her wig and didn’t know she was bald.” Born in California, but raised in Kansas City, Franz got her Equity card there and moved to New York in the 1960s, where, at the suggestion of a girlfriend, her first job was at the Gaslight Club. “It was a private key club, just like being a Playboy bunny, but no ears and tail. I wore something like a swimsuit with mesh tights but never exposed myself in pushup bras because I was very naïve and a virgin. I sang in the main bar and served drinks, and it was great. My first Broadway show was as replacement for one of the ‘Big Spender’ girls in ‘Sweet Charity,’ and then I replaced Ruth Buzzi. I left New York to play summer stock leads, and ironically my first one was Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’ in Roanoke. “I never married. I could have been and been rich by now — and divorced. I just never… men are different. I never found them to be really thinking about you or care how your day had gone. There were some wonderful men but it just didn’t feel right. I thought maybe I should try women, but, at first, it was, ‘How can you tell?” [Laughs.] Those who look like they are, aren’t. “I was in my late 20s, so I’ve been gay for a while now. I’d switch back and forth, but finally said, ‘No. I’m sticking with women.’ And that’s not always a picnic, you still have complications, but I’m now with this beautiful younger woman, a brilliant actress, Carolyn Kozlowski. I was so closeted and she wasn’t, and that made it able for me to be more accepting of myself. We’re together 13 years, domestic partners. “Being out hasn’t hurt me pr ofessionally. I don’t go ar ound advocating it, but a lot of people know and a lot of people don’t, and if somebody says something, I say,

JOSEPH MORAN/ LESLIEUGGAMS.COM

Joy Franz plays Frau Schmidt in “The Sound of Music,” and comes to the role after

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At 54 Below, Leslie Uggams made collective jaws drop with the ferocity of her talent.

‘Yeah, I am.’ I’m proud of who I am and it’s taken a long r oad to get here, but Carrie is the one who really helped show me that love does not know sex, male or female, color, race, or nationality. Pure true love does not have conditions.”

A CD release party w a s thrown for mezzo soprano Susan Graham (November 13) at Chelsea’s Norwood Club, which was the perfect intimate setting for the diva to talk humorously about its title “Virgins, Vixens & Viragos,” the last wor d of which many mistake for Viagra. The Victorian townhouse space provided ideal salon acoustics when she beautifully sang selections from Berlioz, Schubert, a moving “None But the Lonely Heart” in Russian, and, surprisingly, Sondheim’s “The Boy From.”

“HHHHH” CRITICS’ PICK “HHHH COURAGEOUS! ONE OF THE YEAR’S BEST.”

-KEITH UHLICH, TIME OUT NEW YORK

-ROGER EBERT, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

“REMARKABLY FRESH. TOPICAL AND TIMELESS.” -THE NEW YORK TIMES

F ro m t h e re, w e s p e d uptown to 54 Below, and I’ve said it before, but now reiterate: There is no living performer greater than Leslie Uggams, who again made collective jaws drop with the sheer, ever -blooming ferocity of her talent. “Classic Uggams” was the name of her show and classics were what she sang, taking hold of hoary standards and making each one definitively her own through her matchless sense of rhythm, phrasing, and per fect pitch. Her near -a capella “Hello Young Lovers,” with a mere drum accompaniment, remains the most soulfully astounding thing one can see on any stage. Do not miss her next time around. Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@ aol.com and check out his blog at http://nohway.wordpress.com/.

“ASTOUNDING!” “POWERFUL. A REMARKABLE DEBUT.” -VARIETY

-FILMMAKER MAGAZINE

CRITIC’S CHOICE -J.R. JONES, CHICAGO READER

IN THE FAMILY I N D E P E N D E N T S P I R I T AWA R D NOMINEE

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30

November 21, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

OBITUARY

A Man of the Movies Elliott Stein, 1928-2012 BY DAVID NOH lliott Stein, as a writer, critic, and historian one of the true gentlemen of cinema — in the tradition of sorely missed scholars like Henri Langlois, William K. Everson, and Andrew Sar ris — has died at the age of 83. Described as “a true cinematic multihyphenate” by the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Cinématek, his writing appeared in the New York Times, t h e Vi l l a g e Vo i c e , R o l l i n g S t o n e , Sight and Sound, Film Comment, the Financial T imes, Opera, and many other publications. Born December 5, 1928 in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, Stein fell under the sway of film when he saw “King Kong” in its original release in 1933 at Radio City Music Hall. The film remained his favorite, endlessly rewatched by him and the subject of a seminal article, “My Life with Kong,” in Rolling Stone. Leading the most peripatetic of lives, he entered NYU at age 15 as one of its first film students and then moved to Paris in 1948, where he lived for decades and was immersed in that city’s vibrant cinema culture. A regular visitor to the Cinematheque Francaise, he became friends with many of the filmmakers, like Jacques Rivette and other critic-tur ned-directors, who would forge the Nouvelle Vague movement in film. He wrote the libretto for Ned Rorem’s first opera, “A Childhood Miracle” and also claimed to have been a ghost-writer on Kenneth Anger’s notorious, legendary “Hollywood Babylon,” somehow earning Anger’s lasting enmity, which took the form of scary, obsessively satanic correspondences Stein once showed me. He worked on a number of films as writer, and as an actor appeared in Antony Balch’s “Bizarre” and Edgardo Cozarinsky’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” Stein was friends with leading intellectuals, like Susan Sontag, whose influential “Notes on Camp” he greatly influenced. When BAM began its Cinématek in 1999, Elliott was hired as a programmer and he produced more than 120 magnificently eclectic “Cinemachats,” which consisted of the screening of a favorite film, followed by his inimitable comments. He began this series with John Brahm’s “Hangover Squar e” and ended it last month

PHOTOFEST PHOTO ARCHIVE/ COURTESY BAM

E

PHOTOFEST PHOTO ARCHIVE/ COURTESY BAM

Elliott Stein in 1976.

Elliott Stein on the 1964 set of “The Masque of the Red Death,” with director Roger Corman and star Vincent Price.

with André De Toth’s “Ramrod.” I will sorely miss this unique, wonderful soul, who embodied not only a joi de cinema, but an ineffable joie de vivre itself. Always a total straight shooter, you could count on Elliott to always speak the truth, whether it was debunking the

near saintly reputation of Vito Russo, who earned his lasting contempt for having sliced out crucial gay-related scenes from Museum of Modern Art film prints for his own use, or explaining his rather startling appearance in the documentary “Cinemaniacs,” a study of a group

of obsessive Manhattan film lovers. At one point in the film, as the lights come up after a screening, you see Stein adjusting his tr ousers and buckling his belt. His explanation: “I had just had a huge Greek lunch and my pants were too tight around the waist, so I had gotten comfortable. It looked like I was jerking off. I should sue them for including that footage!” The fact that he never did attests to his unfailing generosity. He was unstintingly supportive of other writers and young filmmakers, especially if they were gay, in a business which is not always noted for its bigness of heart. He was an early, enthusiastic champion of Lee Daniels, for example, and I, for one, will always treasure his comment to me: “Since Pauline Kael died, there’s no one fun to read any more. Except you.” Stein was not only an invaluable source of film history, but gay history as well. The most fabulous raconteur, he could regale you for hours with queer lore, like how the mausoleums in the Paris cemetery Père Lachaise provided great gay trysting places. Or, how Charles Laughton, in the middle of a restaurant, responded to his comely y o u n g c o m p a n i o n ’ s r e q u e s t “ M r. Laughton, can I have champagne?” b y y e l l i n g , “ ‘ M r. L a u g h t o n , M r. Laughton!’ I’ve been sucking your ass all night and you call me Mr. Laughton! Ask ‘Charlie’ for your champagne, and you’ll get it!’” An inveterately lusty soul and shining example of how to age well, he was attending sex parties well into his 70s and didn’t hesitate to talk about them in the most delightful detail. Stein retained his brilliantly febrile mind and feisty spirit right up until the end, indefatigably making it to crucial screenings in poor health and a wheelchair. His passing leaves a huge, gaping hole in Manhattan cultural life, like that now occupied on 53rd Street, where Art Moder ne treasure the Donnell Library, another crucial film source, has been senselessly demolished to make way for another luxury high rise for the one percent. A memorial service is being planned for him, and, in December, BAMcinématek will screen one of his favorite films, Valerio Zurlini’s “The Desert of the Tartars.” I just hope Elliott’s enjoying himself in that great Loew’s Paradise in the sky, hanging with Lubitsch, Nick Ray, Arletty, and Guy Madison.


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| November 21, 2012

COGSWELL, from p.16

chased down and beaten up. You can see them on video. They look so little, scrawny, and righteous compared to the enormous right-wing nationalist Catholic guys in leather jackets who punched them or smashed them in their faces with motorcycle helmets. All to a Wagnerian chorus of "sluts" and "filthy dykes." There was even a priest on the sideline encouraging the attackers to go after FEMEN. "Allez montrer votre virilité!"… "Go on, show them you're men!" These thugs hit the trifecta of their female, queer, media-bashing frenzy when they attacked one particular reporter. When they smashed her head on the pavement and her cap fell off, they recognized her as Caroline Fourest, journalist dyke and "filthy whore" responsible in the last couple of years for uncovering the growing power of fundamentalist Catholics and some of the anti-gay, anti-woman shenanigans they've pulled

SUSIE DAY, from p.17

Prez@whitehouse.gov: But Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Shouldn’t we worry more about Pakistan, India, and Israel? They never signed.” Bibi@netanyahoo.com: So what? A barbaric country like Iran cannot be permitted to nuke civilized, freedom-lov-

under the radar of the secular state. They shouldn't take it personally. She's gone after the homophobia and misogyny of Muslims, too, getting pilloried as a racist and collecting death threats for exposing the likes of Tariq Ramadan as a stealthy huckster televangelist who collected fat fees as multicultural expert and moderate Muslim while playing footsies under the table with the fundamentalist Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) in Algeria, not to mention the Iranian state. I like Fourest a lot. I always do like secularists when they're even-handed, going after nice white French Catholic reactionary pigs the same as beige North African Muslims bigots. Fundamentalist Jews have taken their lumps from her, too. Her work is essential. Keeping religion out of government is our only chance as queers to get basic civil rights. Argue interpretation all you want, you just can't deny the fact that it's written down,

right there, in almost every "holy" book that queers deserve the absolute worst in this world, not to mention the next. Treat queers like anybody else, they might actually begin to believe they're your equals. My god, you can't be too careful about the perils of democracy. Caroline Fourest's a case in point. What kind of normal woman could survive blows to her head and back, then announce on Facebook, "Plainte déposée! Ce soir, c'est sac de glaces et doliprane. Merci à tous pour vos messages de soutien. Les chiens aboient... l'égalité passera."… “The complaint is filed. Tonight, it's an icepack and Advil. Thanks to everybody for their support. The dogs howl, but equality will pass." I hope so. Will Francois Hollande's new Socialist government hold their ground? Weather the controversy? Manage to mobilize supporters for same-sex marriage, a group that is supposed to include more than half the population (at least before the latest round of demos)?

Hollande might be tempted to hide. He's pretty much known as a cream puff. And not because he has a tasty center. Same-sex marriage is quite a test for France's secular state. Religion and race are increasingly tangled there. In part because governments of both the right and left have historically preferred to buy off cries of racism from, say, Muslims with religious crumbs rather than address real problems. Want special hours in the pool? Okay. Special treatment in hospitals? No problem. See, we take care of our own. Muslims, particularly immigrants, get anything but opportunities for full integration and equality, which would mean offering the rights and demanding the responsibilities that come with citizenship in a secular state. That trick will be harder and harder to pull off. Especially now when priests are holding joint press conferences with rabbis and imams, uniting extremist elements of their communities in hatred of queers.

ing countries, like us. Whereas, a civilized country nuking barbaric dictatorships protects our Freedom. Prez@whitehouse.gov: “Like when the US nuked Japan?” Frenchdude@UN.org: Allons, boys. Let us displace our fear of planetary extinction with the evil of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Getting people to fear and hate him

like he was Dracula will save the Earth. Prez@whitehouse.gov: Yeah, well, I sure hate Dracula. vv <-- get it? Fangs??? … While the State Department expressed outrage at this unprecedented revelation of sensitive communiqués, much of the general public, for some reason, continues to fear and hate Iran’s president,

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “Thanks to that fascist Iranian vampire, we’re way calmer than if our news media were headlining nuclear dangers in our own backyard,” said Bernie Blackout, vice-president of New Yorkers for Surviving Late Capitalism. “Dangers like those 16 nuclear power plants in the path of Hurricane Sandy.”

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32

November 21, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com the section titled “Queer Studies: Camouflage and Shifting Identities,” David Hockney, Robert Gober, Catherine Opie, Richard Avedon, Peter Hujar, and Robert Mapplethorpe. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Ave. at 82nd St. Through Dec. 31; Fri.-Sat., 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Tue.-Thu., Sun., 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Admission is $25; $17 for seniors; $12 for students.

SUN.NOV.25

THE BRONX ACADEMY OF ARTS AND DANCE

CABARET Billy Stritch & Jim Caruso Together

November 30: "Los Nutcrackers: A Christmas Carajo"

That’s Amore!

FRI.NOV.23

SAT.NOV.24

CABARET The Corner of Arias & Vine

THEATER Hedwig Would Die for an Invitation

For the first time in more than a decade, drag legends Sherry Vine and Joey Arias appear together in New York. Their show, “Looking Back At The Future,” is a sexy, over-the-top spectacle featuring original material as well as Broadway, rock, Joey's infamous Billie Holiday, Sherry's trashy parodies, and videos by Francis Legge. XL Nightclub, 512 W. 42nd St. Nov. 23-24, 8 p.m. Admission is $20, with doors opening at 7 p.m. You must be 21.

Dancing pink flamingos, cans of Spam, and ugly Christmas sweaters — but no sugar plum fairies or snowflakes — come to life on Christmas Eve in “Project Runway” and “Mad Fashion” star Chris March’s “Nutcracker” trailer park mash-up, “The Butt-Cracker Suite.” HERE Arts Center, 145 Sixth Ave. at Dominick St., just below Spring St. Nov. 24-Dec. 29, Tue.Sun., 8:30 p.m.; Sat., 10:30 p.m. also; Sun., 4 p.m. also. Additional shows on Nov. 26, 8:30 p.m.; Dec. 26, 4 p.m.; Dec. 28, 10:30 p.m. No show on Dec. 25. Tickets are $50 at here.org or 212352-3101.

GALLERY Stephen Mueller’s Final, Brilliant Paintings

Emmy Award winner Sonia Blangiardo ("One Life To Live, "As the World Turns") directs a revival of Anthony J. Wilkinson’s “My Big Gay Italian Wedding,” with original music and lyrics by David James Boyd and original choreography by J. Austin Eyer. Wilkinson and Daniel Robinson (“Hairspray”) star as the grooms, with recording artists Kim Sozzi ("Feel Your Love") and Judy Torres ("No Reason To Cry") alternating the role of Aunt Toniann. Groom Anthony Pinnunziato’s mother will only bestow her blessing if groom Andrew Polinski’s estranged mother does so as well — and they find a Catholic priest to perform the vows! And, of course, an ex-boyfriend shows up to blow the whole deal up. St. Luke’s Theatre, 308 W. 46th St. Through Feb. 23. Tickets are $39.50-$99 at telecharge.com or 212-239-6200.

The Now Scene in the Philippines “Bastards of Misrepresentation: New York Edition,” curated by artist Manuel Ocampo, is a multivenue survey show of 20 contemporary artists, in diverse mediums from painting and installation to video and performance, from the Philippines. Many have been recognized by that country’s most prestigious awards, while others are highly visible as performers in the underground art, performance, and music scene. Venues and dates are: Topaz Arts, 55-03 39th Ave., Woodside, Queens (#7 train to 61st St. or R/ M trains to Northern Blvd). Through Dec. 30, Sat., noon-4 p.m. or by appointment at info@topazarts.org. Crossing Art, 136-17 39th Ave., Flushing, Queens (#7 train to Main St.). Through Dec. 11, Tue.–Sun., 11 a.m.–6 p.m. or by appointment at crossingart.com. Queens Museum of Art/ Partnership Gallery, NYC Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Pk. (#7 train to Citifield/ Willets Point). Through Dec. 30, Wed.-Sun., noon-6 p.m. Manuel Ocampo’s solo exhibition is at Tyler Rollins Fine Art, 529 W. 20th St. Through Dec. 22.

Painter Stephen Mueller, in the year preceding his death in September 2011, was prodigious and brilliant in his output despite the health challenges he faced. Lennon, Weinberg presents its second posthumous exhibition of his work, this time focusing on Mueller’s paintings from 2007 until his death. 514 W. 25th St. Tue.-Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., through Dec. 8. For more information, visit lennonweinberg.com.

Punchinello on the Beach

Andy and His Kind

NELSON CARABALLO

In “Patrick Webb: On the Beach, at Night,” an exhibition of new works, the painter’s ubiquitous Punchinello figure heads out onto the nighttime beach. Sometimes in groups of many Punchinelli, sometimes alone, Punchinello stands around, tells stories, and undresses to loll about with his friends in the dark and beside bonfires. These paintings, inspired by nights Webb spent on the beaches in Cape Cod’s Wellfleet, both as a child and more recently, explore many aspects of desire, connection, loss, and memory. The Painting Center, 547 W. 27th St., Suite 500. Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. through Nov. 24. More information at bgc.bard.edu.

“Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years” aims to provide the first full exploration of the “dominant” influence that iconic painter, printmaker, sculptor, and filmmaker had on contemporary art. Structured in five thematic sections, the exhibition juxtaposes prime examples of his work against other artists who in key ways reinterpret, respond, or react to him — including, in

Jim Caruso, who recently made his Broadway debut alongside Liza Minnelli in “Liza’s At The Palace!,” joins award-winning composer, arranger, vocalist, and jazz pianist Billy Stritch for a month of Sundays at Bemelmans Bar, the Carlyle Hotel, 35 E. 76th St. Nov. 25, 9 p.m.midnight. The cover charge is $15 at the bar; $25 at a table. No reservations accepted, but additional information at thecarlyle.com .

Tall Tommy Tune Tommy Tune, one of the most prolific choreographers and directors of recent decades and Broadway’s tallest tapper takes to a small stage for several evenings of dancing, singing, and tale-telling. Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, 540 Park Ave. at 61st St. Nov. 25-26, 8 & 10:30 p.m. The cover charge is $30-$45, with a $25 food & drink minimum. For reservations, visit Feinsteinsatloewsregency.com or call 212339-4095.

TUE.NOV.27

COMMUNITY Art & AIDS

Gay Men’s Health Crisis presents “Art & AIDS: It’s Not Over,” an exhibition of art about the epidemic created by those affected by it. Proceeds of sales go directly to individual artists, but with proceeds from selected pieces in a silent auction benefitting GMHC. Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Canal Sts. Opening reception is Nov. 27, 6-8. Exhibition runs Nov. 28-Dec. 2, noon-6 p.m. For more information, visit the exhibition’s Facebook page at tinyurl.com/agbzfof.

CABARET Gershwins, Feinstein & A Young Protégé Celebrating the release of his new book “The Gershwins and Me” and a CD of 12 Gershwin songs, Michael Feinstein performs “A Gershwin Holiday,” an evening of classic Jazz Age songs from “Strike Up the Band” to “Love Is Here to Stay.” Pianist and arranger Alan Broadbent leads a quintet in accompaniment, and Nick Ziobro, the 16-year-old upstate New York winner of a Feinstein high school competition, joins the engagement as special guest vocalist. Feinstein’s at Loews Regency Hotel, 540 Park Ave. at 61st St. Nov. 27-Dec. 22, Tue.-Thu., 8 p.m.; Fri-Sat., 8 & 10:30 p.m. Cover charge is $60, with a $40 food & drink minimum. Reservations at FeinsteinsatLoewsRegency.com or 212-339-4095.

14 DAYS, continued on p.35


| November 21, 2012

BOOKS

A Queer Harlem Poet’s Renaissance and Fall New biography rescues brilliant yet brief life, work of Countée Cullen BY DOUG IRELAND

resh scholarship illuminating the queer writers and artists at the core of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s continues to throw into sharp relief some of that important cultural moment’s unjustly forgotten talents.

F

AND BID HIM SING: A BIOGRAPHY OF COUNTÉE CULLEN By Charles Molesworth University of Chicago Press $30; 304 pages

Hard on the heels of Emily Ber nard’s important “Carl Van Vechten and the Harlem Renaissance” (see my September 26-October 9 review, “A Queer Bridge for Racial Divides”) comes now the first full-length biography of Countée Cullen, the gifted poetic prodigy who began to win fame when he was only 20 and died in 1946 at the young age of 42 of a cerebral hemorrhage brought on by hypertension. Although Cullen was one of America’s most admired poets in the 1920s, his struggle to survive the penury of the Great Depression dried up his poetic talent, and he spent the last decade of his life in comparative obscurity as a teacher of French in Harlem’s Frederick Douglass Junior High School — where James Baldwin was one of his admiring students — having failed to obtain the university post he deserved and which would have allowed him the time to pursue his poetic quest. It is not easy to write a biography of a man who left no diaries or journals in which he recorded his inner emotional life, and if there were any documents that detailed his homosexuality, Cullen took care to destroy them. But there is no doubt that Cullen’s sexual orientation was overwhelmingly toward other men. Indeed, his first, brief marriage, to W.E.B. Du Bois’ daughter Yolande, foundered on the issue of Cullen’s same-sex preferences almost before it began when he went on his “honeymoon” to Paris not with Yolande but with one of his great

loves, bon vivant Harold Jackman, a French and social studies teacher known as “the Proust of Lenox Avenue” — a reference to both his refinement and his sexual orientation. The “honeymoon” incident was the subject of speculation and innuendo in the black press at that time. London-born of West Indian par entage, Jackman — who was called “the handsomest man in Harlem” by his contemporaries — wrote a bit and acted a bit, but left behind no oeuvre. He was, nonetheless, a catalytic figure in the gay life at the center of the Harlem Renaissance, many of whose queer members Jackman had introduced to each other and either slept with him or had a crush on him. The ubiquitous Jackman, light-skinned and an elegant dresser, appears as a character in Van Vechten’s scandalcausing 1926 novel “Nigger Heaven,” and both he and Cullen are major figures in Wallace Thurman’s satirical 1936 novel about the Harlem Renaissance, “Infants of the Spring.” Jackman, whose massive correspondence, diaries, and noted collection of African-American memorabilia — which he named the Countée Cullen Collection in honor of his prematurely deceased friend — serve as a touchstone for all historians of the Renaissance, deserves a full-length biography of his own. In a letter to her world-famous father explaining the failure of her marriage, Yolande Du Bois laid the blame squarely on Cullen’s homosexuality. “I never loved him,” she wrote, “but I had an enormous amount of respect for him. Having lost that — and having an added feeling of horror at the abnormality of it I could not ‘make it.’ I knew something was wrong physically, but being very ignorant and inexperienced I couldn’t be sure what. When he confessed things he’d always known that he was abnormal sexually as far as other men were concerned [italics in the biography’s text] then many things became clear.” And she added, “At first I felt ter ribly angry — I felt he’d no right to marry any woman knowing this. Now I only feel sorry for him and all I want is not to have to be anywhere near him.”

COUNTÉE CULLEN, continued on p.34

33


34 䉴

November 21, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

COUNTÉE CULLEN, from p.33

“And Bid Him Sing: A Biography of Countée Cullen,” is written by Charles Molesworth, a Queens College literature professor of 40 years who now writes an art columnist for Salmagundi. Molesworth is also the biographer of Alain Locke, the Howard University philosopher who was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance, having edited “The New Negro,” the first collection of writing by Renaissance writers, published in 1925. Locke, who was also queer, was an important mentor to Cullen and other important Renaissance figures. The title of Molesworth’s book comes from a short Cullen poem, “Yet Do I Marvel”:

The mixture of gentle irony and despair in this poem capture the reserved, secretive Cullen’s inner conflicts, which included the challenge of being black in a racist world, of being homosexual in a straight and homophobic one, and of being a lyrical poet heavily influenced by the 19th century English Romantics at a time when such literary formalism was being discarded in favor of plainer, every-day speech and dialect poetry — such as in the work of Cullen’s close friend Langston Hughes, another queer to whom Cullen is usually counterposed as the polar opposite. Molesworth does a superb job of portraying Cullen’s struggle to define and maintain his own personal aesthetic. He also successfully challenges the over-simplicity of the opposition of Cullen and Hughes, two poets who were long engaged in dialogue, both in person and correspondence, about aesthetic matters. Irony was again present in “More Than a Fool’s Song,” a poem Cullen dedicated to another of his lovers, Edward Perry, a dancer and Broadway actor with whom Cullen had an affair in the late ‘20s. The poem’s ending can be read as a closeted nod to the same-sex orientation he and Perry shared:

R FOR ROADBLOCK, from p.9

soon as you can,” he said. “Administrative action is good but that doesn’t take away the need to pass the legislation.” For now, the great hope for LGBT progress on Capitol Hill is on immigration. Nadler, who for years has led the charge to end the break-up of binational same-sex couples due to existing immigration law, is the lead sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act. He has collaborated with Chicago’s Luis Gutiérrez, the key player among House Democrats on immigration reform overall, to ensure that any bill that

UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS

I doubt not God is good, well-meaning, kind, And did He stoop to quibble could tell why The little buried mole continues blind, Why flesh that mirrors Him must someday die, Make plain the reason tortured Tantalus Is baited by the fickle fruit, declare If merely brute caprice dooms Sisyphus To struggle up a never-ending stair. Inscrutable His ways are, and immune To catechism by a mind too strewn With petty cares to slightly understand What awful brains compels His awful hand. Yet do I marvel at this curious thing: To make a poet black, and bid him sing!

The world’s a curious riddle thrown Waterwise from heaven’s cup; The souls we think are hurtling down Perhaps are climbing up. Cullen seems to have been somewhat ashamed of his childhood upbringing by his grandmother in what Molesworth describes as “Dickensian” poverty, before he was adopted at the beginning of his adolescence by one of Harlem’s most prominent ministers, Reverend Frederick Cullen. The first 14 years of young Cullen’s life “remain largely a blank,” Molesworth writes, and even his place of birth — Kentucky? Harlem? — remains uncertain. Still, Molesworth does a yeoman job of reconstructing those early years. The poet later described his life as a never-ending conflict between his Christian upbringing and the side of his life he labeled “pagan” (read: homosexual). As a teenager, Cullen earned prize after prize for his poetry and won the imagist poet Witter Bynner’s poetry prize when he was still a scholarship student at New York University, by which time he’d already

moves forward addresses the hurdles facing same-sex couples. “I’ve worked for a long time to get that commitment and I did get it,” Nadler said. “That commitment still stands. I would do everything I can to make sure that commitment holds.” Nadler acknowledged that Republicans, if they are willing to move on immigration at all, would love to undo that unity, a point underscored by HRC’s Moulton. “We have seen Republicans who see need for immigration reform but are uncomfortable with binational couples,” he told Gay City News. “They’re

seen his work published by H.L. Mencken in the American Mercury. After winning another scholarship for postgraduate work at Harvard and publishing his first book of poems, “Color,” with Harper in 1925, Cullen won a Guggenheim Fellowship that allowed him to spend two years in Paris, which he adopted as his “second home” and where he spent 12 consecutive summers. The late ‘20s were productive ones for Cullen, whose new volumes of poetry — “Copper Sun,” “Harlem Wine,” “The Ballad of the Brown Girl,” and “The Black Christ” — won him nearly universal critical acclaim. But the Depression put an end to Cullen’s poetry. He tried to make a living as a novelist, but while his debut effort, 1931’s “One Way to Heaven,” was well-received critically (the New York Times said it was “not to be missed”), it proved a disappointment financially and he found writing it so difficult he never wrote another. He spent the last decade of his life trying to jumpstart a career writing plays for the theater, but they remained unproduced, including “Medea,” the first translation by an African-American writer of a Greek tragedy (he also translated Baudelaire and other French poets). “St. Louis Woman,” a play that he and Arna Bontemps adapted from a Bontemps novel, ran on Broadway for 113 performances in 1946. Cullen, however, died the second week of that year, an irony not without meaning in Molesworth’s view. Because its subject was a prostitute, even before it was produced, “St. Louis Woman” was attacked by what were then called “race men,” who hadn’t even read it, because it depicted unattractive aspects of Negro life at a time when racial politics demanded a literature of “uplift” filled with positive black images. Molesworth speculates that the strain of fighting these misguided attempts at censorship may have led to Cullen’s untimely death. But it is for his poems on race that Cullen is largely remembered today. As Langston Hughes wrote on the death of his friend, “Among the most beautiful of his poems was ‘Heritage,’ which asked, ‘What Is Africa to Me?’ Had the word negritude been in use in the twenties, Cullen as well as [Claude] McKay, [James Weldon] Johnson, [Jean] Toomer, and I might have been called poets of negritude.” “Collected Poems of Countée Cullen” is scheduled to be published next year by Library of America. That, in tandem with this fine new biography, may help restore this queer genius to his proper place as an American original. Cullen was a man of enormous talent and courage who unfailingly devoted his life to his art and his people while retaining the individualism that made him a unique figure in our literary history.

not hiding the ball on that one, and its hard to see that a lot of them will not have that view.” The Democratic House leadership staffer, however, argued that common purpose among all advocates is critical to success on immigration issues, LGBT and otherwise. Referring to DOMA’s bar on recognition of same-sex marriages, that staffer told Gay City News, “Yes, there will be Republicans who see any advancement on binational couples as undermining that. But, we’ve got to overcome that. You gotta keep everything together or the Republicans will do exactly what they want on reform.”

As usual, Barney Frank cast the coldest eye on the prospect for offering binational same-sex couples relief. Saying he is “mildly optimistic” that the Supreme Court will throw out DOMA when it takes up several legal challenges this term, he predicted that absent that fix, the best shot for progress is winning approval for a DOMA carveout that would allow legal same-sex immigrant spouses to stay in the US. “A broader provision allowing domestic partners to come in is unlikely to win,” he said of existing proposals to keep binational couples and families together.


35

| November 21, 2012 beefy boylesque star Matt Knife and the glitter furball Teddy Turnaround. Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St., btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts. Nov. 29, 10 p.m. Tickets are $15; $12 for students & seniors at dixonplace. org; $20 at the door.

14 DAYS, from p.32

WED.NOV.28

THEATER Women for Peace

One of history’s most personal and powerful anti-war statements, Euripides’ “Trojan Women,” is brought to life in a new staging by director Anne Bogart and SITI Company from a new adaptation by Irish playwright Jocelyn Clarke. Music by Christian Frederickson. BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton St. at Rockwell Pl., Brooklyn. Nov. 28-Dec. 1, 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 2, 3 p.m. Tickets are $20-$85 at bam.org or 718-636-4100. On Dec. 13, 7 p.m. Bogart appears in conversation with Simon Critchley for “On Truth (and Lies) in Greek Tragedy.” BAM Fisher (Hillman Studio), 321 Ashland Pl., btwn. Lafayette Ave. & Hanson Pl. Tickets are $15 at bam.org.

FRI.NOV.30

PERFORMANCE Los Nutcrackers: A Christmas Carajo

The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance presents the ninth year of its queer Latino holiday classic, Charles Rice-González’s “Los Nutcrackers: A Christmas Carajo.” Interweaving “The Nutcracker” and “A Christmas Carol,” the piece follows a gay couple who go on a psychedelic trip through their lives, guided by a ghetto thug/diva spirit, one Christmas Eve. Mark Finley directs, with choreography by Richard Rivera. BAAD, 841 Barretto St., btwn Garrison & Lafayette Aves., Hunts Point (#6 train to Hunts Point Ave.). Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 6-8, 14-15, 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 at BronxAcademyOfArtsAndDance.org or 718-842-5223.

THU.NOV.29

FILM Musical Composition Inspired by an Epidemic

Distorted Kristmess Dallas DuBois and the "ladies" of the long-running (and soon-to-return) drag hit “Distorted Diznee” run all of your holiday favorites past a dirty funhouse mirror. Highlights include a twisted take on “Let It Snow,” an alternative Grinch, a warped spin on “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and a special visit from the Port Authority Cockettes, an altogether downscale version of the celebrated Radio City Rockettes. DuBois’ co-stars are Pixie Aventura, Holly Dae, Tina Burner, and Bootsie LeFaris. Laurie Beechman Theater, 407 W. 42nd St. Nov. 30 & Dec. 7, 10 p.m. Tickets are $15 at SpinCycleNYC. com or 212-352-3101, plus a $15 food & drink minimum.

The musical documentary “All The Way Through Evening” tells the story of gay composers who wrote about and were ultimately lost to HIV/ AIDS in the epidemic’s early years. The film follows East Village pianist Mimi Stern-Wolfe as she prepares for her 20th annual New York concert in honor of composer friends she lost to the pandemic. Her story is complemented by candid interviews with the family, friends, and lovers who have survived the composers. Compositions from the late 1980s and early ‘90s are featured. Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster St., btwn. Grand & Canal Sts. Nov. 30, 6 p.m. The screening, followed by a conversation between Stern-Wolfe and Perry Brass, is free, but RSVP to tinyurl.com/ar24yyx.

Dandy Darkly, the prissily bitter broker of fables fearful and foxy, serves up “leftover realness” culled and chopped from his rescheduled “Variety of the Damned!” He and his mistreated manservant Hookah celebrate ThankSandyween along with a costumed cavalcade of downtown Gotham’s best, including comedian songwriter Ben Lerman, rock and roll ventriloquist Carla Rhodes, vaudevillian vocalists Fein and Dandee, and razor sharp

one-man, spoken word Christmas show. Waters is joined by singer/ songwriter Kimya Dawson, formerly of the Moldy Peaches, who worked on the “Juno” songtrack. Tarrytown Music Hall, 13 Main St. at John St. Dec. 3, 8 p.m. Tickets are $45-$100 at tarrytownmusichall.org.

WORLD AIDS DAY United in Anger

MUSIC Gay Men Sing Christmas

Chillfest presents Jim Hubbard’s ACT UP documentary “United in Anger: A History of ACT UP,” which he co-produced with Sarah Schulman, with cinematography by James Wentzy and editing by Ali Cotterill. The film tells the story from a grassroots perspective — how a small group of men and women of all races and classes came together to change the world and save each other’s lives. LITM, 140 Newark Ave., a half block from the Grove St. PATH station, Jersey City. Dec. 1, 4 p.m. Admission is $7 at chillfest.org; $10 at the door. LITM has a full food & drink menu.

With performances in two boroughs, the Empire City Men’s Chorus, a gay classical ensemble, celebrates the season with “Love and Justice: A 20th Anniversary Holiday Concert.” Artistic director Christopher Clowdus draws from the chorus’ holiday repertoire as well commissioned work from gay and gay-friendly composers, including Marvin Gaspard, Dorothy Hindman, David Hurd, and Gwyneth Walker. A performance of “Sunday” from Sondheim’s “Sunday In The Park With George” features past and current members of the chorus. On Dec. 5, 8 p.m., the chorus appears at Church of the Holy Apostles, 296 Ninth Ave. at 28th St., Manhattan. On Dec. 9, 5 p.m., the performance is reprised at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church, 157 Montague St. at Clinton St., Brooklyn. Admission is $25; $15 for students & seniors at empirecitymenschorus. org or 212-545-4110. VIP seating, including wine and cheese, at $75; two for $100 for the Dec. 5 performance.

WED.DEC.5

SUN.DEC.2

MUSIC Clay Aiken at St. George Theatre

COMEDY Ho Ho Homo Comicus

Accompanied by a 20-piece orchestra, Clay Aiken brings his “Joyful Noise Tour” to the St. George Theatre in Staten Island, 35 Hyatt, btwn. Central Ave. & St. Mark’s Pl., three blocks from the ferry landing. Dec. 2, 7 p.m. Tickets are $49$89 at ticketmaster.com or 718-442-2900.

Bob Montgomery hosts a Gold, Frank ‘n’ sense, and mirth yuletide edition of Homo Comicus, featuring Judy Gold, Frank DeCaro, Erin Foley, and Eddie Sarfaty. Gotham Comedy Club, 208 W. 23rd St. Dec. 5, 8:30 p.m. The cover charge is $20, with a two-drink minimum. Reservations at 212-367-9000.

Christmas Stripped & Sullied EndTimes Productions presents the sixth annual edition of “Naked Holidays,” a flesh-filled evening of non-traditional holiday mischief, naughty short plays, music, and merriment. Highlights include "Weredeer," about a man doomed to become a monster on Christmas Eve; "How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Holidays," set in the Fox newsroom during the War on Christmas; "The Worst Jews In the World," in which a Christmas-loving Jewish couple feels conflicted; "Dad Came Out This Christmas," about a father who makes the Yuletides gay; and "The Naked People Play," the production's traditional full-monty “Naked Holidays” closer. Times Square Arts Center, 300 W. 43rd St. Nov. 30-Dec. 30, Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 7 p.m. No performances Dec. 23-26. Tickets are $57.50 at Telecharge.com or 212-239-6200.

SAT.DEC.1

GALLERY The Surrealism of Black Homosexuality

In “Pack up a Little Truck and Keep It on Push: Works on Paper 2008 Forward,” New York artist Rory Golden exhibits a selection of his multi-layered figurative work that addresses issues like racial bigotry, sexuality, love, and hate-based violence. Curator Wayne Northcross, in an essay accompanying the work, writes, “These playful and phantasmagorical paintings draw a highly surreal map of the black male body in spaces populated by feral and tame familiars… In ‘Chicken Bones’ and ‘Extra Fresh,' the black body is not a classic temple of perfect form but a frenzied and

COMMUNITY Stocking Stuffers of Lesbian Herstory The Lesbian Herstory Archives hosts is annual holiday "Books Plus" Sale and Open House. Find the perfect holiday gifts while supporting the Archives’ important work of preserving the lesbian community’s history. Sale items include fiction, poetry, vintage pulps, mysteries, sci-fi, non-fiction, iconic T-shirts, LPs, music cassettes, and buttons. 484 14th St., btwn. Eighth Ave. & Prospect Park W., Park Slope (F train to 15th St.). Dec. 2, noon-5 p.m. For more information, visit lesbianherstoryarchives.org or call 718-768-3953.

MON.DEC.3

PERFORMANCE John Waters Stands Up Filmmaker, actor, and author John Waters (“Pink Flamingos,” “Hairspray”) performs his

HOMO COMICUS

LESLIE LOHMAN MUSEUM OF GAY AND LESBIAN ART

PERFORMANCE A Turkey Coma

manic visual site that investigates complex homoerotic roles. Golden’s expressionistic images present sexuality and black-on-black homosexuality as messy and humorously perverse.” Poet Mark Doty writes, “I love the emotional urgency of Rory's work, and the way these pieces talk about sexuality, slavery, animals, and appetite. He's amazing." Art For Change, 1699 Lexington Ave. at , bottom level. Dec. 1, 1-5 p.m. A closing dialogue on Dec. 1, 7 p.m.

ST. GEORGE THEATRE

SAT.DEC.8

PERFORMANCE Happy Mollydays

Poet/ elementary school security guard Molly "Equality" Dykeman presents her second annual Christmas variety show. With the Percocet-fogged haze that is her mind, will she be able to muck her way through holiday numbers, festive choreography, and a glittering array of guest stars, including Michael Musto, Bambi Galore, Will Clark, Jubilee Diamond, and Adam Sank? Come find out. Laurie Beechman Theater, 407 West 42nd St. Dec. 8 & 21, 9:30 p.m. Admission is $18 at SpinCycleNYC.com or 212-352-3101; $20 at the door. There is a $15 food & drink minimum.


36

November 21, 2012 | www.gaycitynews.com

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