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INDIANAPOLIS August/September 2014

THE WEDDING ISSUE


Securing the Rights of the GLBT Community Since 1992 • Wills, Living Wills & Trusts • Estate & Guardianship Administration • Life & Estate Planning • Powers of Attorney • Adoptions & Second Parent Adoptions • Criminal & Family Law

Law Office of Jeffery A. Evans

317.252.4384

6202 North College Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46220 Broad Ripple Village


LETTER FROM THE

PUBLISHER

JOEY AMATO

Joey Amato creative director Blake Kniffin MANAGING EDITOR Joseph Brownell Publisher

Tom Alvarez, Estella Pan, Jesse Walker Book Reviewer Sebastian Fortino Business CorrespondentS Michael Burcham, PhD, Dan Groover Business Writers JJ Marie Gufreda, Lisa Howe, Mark A. Lee, Maggie Monson, Scott Span Fitness Editor Mark Allyn Nimmo Food & Wine Editor Karen Kennedy, Joshua Simpson HEALTH EDITOR Matthew Grant PsyD, HSPP, Brian Hooper, MDiv, PsyD Life & Style Writer F. Daniel Kent, Kyle Kressin, Chi Sherman Political Editor Josh Peters Arts & entertainment editors

When we sat down to plan the second issue of UNITE Indianapolis, we had no idea that on June 25, 2014, same-sex couples from across the state were going to be granted a three-day window in which they could get married. In fact, we set out to highlight Indianapolis’ culturally rich theatre and arts organizations. After all, it was one of the reasons why I chose to expand the UNITE brand here. Indianapolis is one of the most culturally diverse cities I have been to in recent memory. Your appreciation for the arts is truly remarkable and although we think of the bars and clubs as the stereotypical center of LGBT culture, it is really the arts organizations that bring us together as a community. But when history calls, you answer. And while over our next issues you can expect more spotlights on the members and organizations in Indianapolis’ diverse LGBT arts community – like the upcoming IndyFringe Theatre Festival – we hope we’ve created a magazine that you can keep on your coffee table for years to come. With an estimated 1,000 + marriage licenses issued between June 25, 2014 and June 27, 2014, we tried to squeeze in as many images of these incredible days as possible. We hope that you’ll enjoy this issue with friends, family, loved ones and hopefully new spouses. And while there are still obstacles, hopefully those couples married will remember those days as the days their lives changes. And, if you haven’t visited the museums, theatres or zoo in a while, take a weekend and do so. Celebrate your city and the LGBT influence throughout. -Joey

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Account Executive Photographers

Tony Longoria Mark A. Lee

Rivendell Media (908) 232-2021 Unite Magazine (615) 852-6660 joey@unitemag.com

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@UNITELGBTMAG UNITELGBTMAG


table of contents BUSINESS CHAMBER CHAT

8

LOCAL STARS MARY BYRNE SCOTT BARNES

10 26

GIVING BACK ALL SAINTS

12

BOOK REVIEW DAVID SEDARIS    13

You’ve tied the knot. Now it’s time to plan the party!

Let Small Potatoes make the wedding reception of your dreams happen for you. Call Karen today! 317.515-7414, or email Karen@smallpotatoesindy.com

A&E ON THE AISLE

14

HEALTH COMING OUT AFTER 40

16

FEATURE THE WEDDING ALBUM

18

DINING REVIEW: TAVERNA IN THE KITCHEN

28 36

DESTINATION CHICAGO

32

LIFESTYLE SAME SEX PARENTS

34

ZEN THE ART OF REFRAMING

38

NOW JESSE EHRENFELD

42

MUSIC MOBY

44

FILM REVIEW THE NORMAL HEART

46


paparazzi

SPENCER PRIDE

photos by Jonathan Balash

UNITE MAGAZINE | 7


BUSINESS

Chamber Chat by Maggie Monson

This summer I had the opportunity to learn about the wonderful work the Indy Rainbow Chamber of Commerce does and experience the positive energy of Indianapolis’ LGBT community. And as much as I wish I could continue working with these amazing people, my time as a summer intern for the Indy Rainbow Chamber is drawing to a close. Looking back on my summer experiences, there is so much to be excited about moving forward in our LGBT community. In June, I attended my first Pride Festival, and it was incredible. This year’s Festival drew more than 90,000 attendees — a record-breaking number! Excited to talk with Chamber members already at the festival, I also spent the day working with Emmanuel Merchiers, our Membership Chair, making countless new connections with other vendors. And while Pride was a magical time, for three wonderful days at the end of June, same-sex marriage was legal in Indiana. I cheered as I saw the our Board Chairman Bob Chenoweth’s Facebook post announcing his marriage to his longtime partner Dan. But victory was short-lived and despite the setbacks since, I am confident that love will win here in Indiana. But none of those moments would be possible without the tireless work of both activists and those who are simply willing to share their stories. Barbara Baird, a member of the Chamber’s board of directors, is one of the lawyers fighting for marriage equality in Indiana. She worked alongside Lambda Legal on the case when the same-sex marriage ban was initially overturned. Acknowledged by the Human Rights Campaign for her tireless pursuit of marriage equality, Baird was also honored with an award of special recognition at the Chamber’s July After Hours event. Our stories are also being shared on the world’s stage. Board President JJ Gufreda debuted her one-woman show Left-Hander in London: The Earthquake to an international audience during World Pride in Toronto. The play shares Gufreda’s story of her transition from Joe to JJ Marie in both her personal and professional life. Her advocacy for the transgender community is inspirational and I can’t wait to see where she takes her show next. If you see JJ, make sure to ask about her future in cabaret!

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This summer, I was also able to work with John Sherman before his retirement from the Chamber Board. Together, we created the first issue of the Chamber’s new e-newsletter, which I hope our members enjoyed. Watch out for our next issue, which is coming out at the end of summer with even more content. Finally, I worked with board members Barb Milton and Andy Ward reaching out to LGBT college students in Indiana. The Chamber is striving to be a resource for students who need advice and support as they enter the professional workforce. We hope you will look for updates on our progress and ways you can be involved in mentoring the next generation of young professionals. As I get ready to go back to school this fall, I am thankful for the experiences I had during my summer with the Indy Rainbow Chamber. I met so many inspirational people and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the LGBT community in Indianapolis and the rest of the state. There is a lot of progress to be made here, and it is important to use all of this positive energy to work even harder to advance the cause of equality in all aspects of life. I am proud to have worked with a group of people who are doing just that. If you are interested in joining the Chamber, please visit our website at www.gayindynow.com. We are always welcoming new members and would love to see you at our next After Hours networking event!

Dan Jessup and Bob Chenoweth

photo courtesy of Bob Chenowith


paparazzi

PET PRIDE

photos by Mark A. Lee of Great Exposures

UNITE MAGAZINE | 9


local star

MARY BYRNE by Mark A. Lee

When you ask Mary Byrne about Indiana Youth group (IYG), a safe place for self-identified LGBTQ youth and their allies, her face lights up. “We are really unique here,” Byrne beamed. “As far as stand-alone, LGBT youth services, with a full time staff, and a physical location, there are not many of us. That has to do with Chris Gonzalez starting us, and Betty Wilson of the Health Foundation buying this house for us. I think those two things are why we’ve lasted so long — 27 years.” Byrne has been the Executive Director of IYG for six and a half of those years. Originally from Chicago, Byrne earned her Master’s in Psychology before landing her first job at Stopover, a home for runaway kids in Indianapolis. After about a year or so, she decided she didn’t know enough about raising the funds needed to keep a place like that running, and she quit her job. “That summer, when I got out of Stopover, I kind of exploded,” Byrne said. She came out in a big way, becoming a spokesperson for a human rights organization during the same time period when Anita Bryant was speaking out for the opposition. As the Executive Director of IYG, Byrne brings a wealth of diverse experience to her position. When she founded the lesbian bar Lanyrus, Byrne worked producing in the upwards of 150 concerts in a five-year period of time. “Yeah, it was crazy, but that’s what was happening in the lesbian community at the time,” Byrne said. Byrne’s Labyrus experiences carried over as she became the producer of the Na-

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But Byrne wasn’t initially hired when she applied for the job at IYG. “They hired another woman, but after about six weeks, both she and the board realized that it wasn’t going to work,” Byrne said. “So I got a call saying, ‘Do you still want the job?’ What was really interesting is, the second time around, I wanted the job even more than the first.”

erything they could to take IYG’s license plates away, ended up being her most rewarding. “[It] was about 10 weeks, maybe 8 weeks, of not really knowing where the next attack was coming from, or what they were going to do next,” Byrne remembered. “It was kind of borderline paranoia.” Ultimately though, Byrne said the controversy really put IYG on the map. “Many people found out there was this agency for gay kids that had no idea. And I’m really pretty positive that’s how we got a grant from the Mental Health and Addictions people. They came to us.” The grant allowed IYG to hire two full time people, and offer case management for the kids.

Working with IYG has really helped to bring everything full circle for Byrne. She’s back working with youth, although not directly but developmentally, and she knows a little bit more about money. She wrote grants for the festivals, as well as worked with board members and volunteers. “There are just many aspects of different things you have to juggle, so no two days are alike,” Byrne said of her responsibilities.

When Byrne thinks about the future of IYG, her biggest dream is to find a new facility. “We really need to be on a bus route,” Byrne said. “We need to be more accessible to young people who don’t have cars, or friends with cars.” She is also hoping to do more with rural youth “using the internet, and some social media stuff, to help connect youth who are out in the Netherlands” and finding a staff member to work with Hispanic youth.

During her tenure, Byrne has faced her share of obstacles but her most difficult time at IYG, when state legislators tried ev-

IYG is currently accepting donations and volunteers. For more information about IYG, visit indianayouthgroup.org.

tional Women’s Festival in Bloomington, Indiana for the next 17 years. Byrne’s also worked as a computer programmer before meeting Tammara, her wife of 10 years. Together they owned and operated Outward Bound before it closed in in 2009.

Executive Director of IYG, Mary Byrne

photo by Mark A. Lee of Great Exposures

UNITE MAGAZINE | 11


GIVING BACK

KEEPING THE

ALL

IN ALL SAINTS by Norman R. Brandenstein

Reverend Suzane Wille

While many churches are just now navigating the visibility of their LGBT members, the Episcopal Church of All Saints, a welcoming faith community in the heart of Indianapolis, celebrates 150 years of progressive inclusivity during their Anniversary Gala weekend September 20-21. The sesquicentennial celebration, themed “Keeping the ALL in All Saints,” follows a rich heritage of welcoming members into its fold since its founding in 1864. All Saints embraced racial integration in the pre-civil rights era, hosted the ordination of the first female priest in The Episcopal Church and shared in the establishment of the Dayspring Center, providing shelter and wrap-around services for area homeless families. The Reverend Gordon Chastain, retired Rector and church historian states, “Over the front door of All Saints there is a little sign that says ‘Everyone is welcome.’ We have taken that very seriously, including all races, all genders, all orientations, all ages, all opinions.” And ALL means ALL. All Saints has remained an active site of social and spiritual activism and ministry within the LGBTQ community. After hosting the first Episcopal Integrity USA LGBT chapter in Indianapolis, the All Saints congregation proceeded to further

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photo by Mark A. Lee of Great Exposures

their commitment to providing an inclusive ministry through the calling of multiple openly gay and lesbian priests. They’ve also contributed leadership and advocacy across the Diocese of Indianapolis and the national church as it has progressed in recognizing and endorsing the ordination of LGBT priests and the union of couples in the sacrament of marriage. Most significantly, ALL Saints has established support and a healing ministry for individuals – as well as their friends and families –affected by HIV/AIDS. According to the Reverend Suzanne Wille, who answered the call to lead All Saints in September 2012, the invitation today remains to “delight in the connection between joyful people and solemn worship.” As All Saints looks towards celebrating its 150th Anniversary Gala, and to the future of its welcoming ministry, Mother Suzanne states, “We are thrilled to celebrate the 150 years of ‘Keeping the ALL in All Saints,’ and we’re just as determined to continue opening our doors wide for the next 150 years.” For further information about The Episcopal Church of All Saints, please visit the web site at www.allsaintsindy.org or call the church office at (317) 635-2538.


REVIEW book

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls BY DAVID SEDARIS reviewed by Sebastian Fortino The last book published in 2010 by David Sedaris was a whimsical collection of modern-day fables entitledtitled Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk. This was quite a departure from his usual short stories, essays, and commentary about his life; a fairly ordinary life beautifully elevated through his keen wit. The title of the latest book, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, is a little misleading as it’s a return to his standard method—no more fables. His wit, worldview, and philosophy about the types of people he likes to know, meet, and thus write about can be summed up in one quote: “Someone who lives in a mansion spun of golden floss, forget it, but someone who lives in an old refrigerator beside a drainage ditch—by all means, call me! Collect, even.”

the intricacies of getting residency in the United Kingdom, his self-aggrandized relationship with an African-American classmate in high school, and the delightfully twisted holiday gifts he exchanges with his partner, Hugh. He also richly discusses his experiences traveling throughout the globe on his many book tours and speaking appearances. In this collection of verse—with one chapter of prose, about dogs —the author easily returned to his traditional form. This is not a bad thing, instead it’s a return to something we all have come to love about his writing. It is a delightful collection meant to be read aloud, either back to yourself, or to loved ones who might not know Sedaris but who will want to after a few candid readings. Now, fans of Sedaris only have to do one thing: wait another two or three years for the next installment or be lucky enough to get tickets to his celebrated appearances.

In this collection, we see Sedaris interact with his father, invent a Tea Party supporter totally tricked by a closeted gay son, dreamily reflect upon his Southern childhood, visit a London shop specializing in antique taxidermy, experience the 2008 election of President Obama in Europe, dineing in China, and even visit the dentist in France. Of course, he again recounts interactions with his father, a highlight of his work. He weaves tales somewhere between fiction and memoir, between the “movie version” and “real life.” It’s not because he embellishes;, it’s because of how clearly he shares his vision. It’s not that someone could recall their widowed grandmother this way... “Bringing her to the [country] club would have depressed people. The mournful black dresses, the long gray hair pinned into an Old Country bun, she was the human equivalent of a storm cloud.” …it’s because he does that makes him such a delight to read! It’s also a vaguely political book, because we see a lot of his ethics and, his beliefs related to society and the world at large. Sedaris, who is openly gay, but rather private about it, candidly discusses his support of gay marriage, Matthew Grant, Psy.D., hsPP | 317.632.3225 | 429 e. VerMont st, ste. 307 . PsycholoGist/PsychotheraPist .

northstarPsych.coM


A&E

On the Aisle

WITH TOM ALVAREZ

IndyFringe Theatre Festival CELEBRATES 10 YEARS OF LGBT VOICES Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis’ epicenter of hipness and a popular destination for the city’s LGBT community, will be teeming once again with theater-goers for the edgy IndyFringe Theatre Festival, taking place August 14 through 24. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, IndyFringe will feature 354 shows live on stage, held in five theaters on or near Mass. Ave., which is located in the downtown arts and theater district. Participating will be 64 performing groups, half of which will be local and the other half, both national and international. Among them will be established and emerging artists as well theater companies in performances that will include dance, drama, magic, music, comedy, cabaret, multi-media, and storytelling. All shows are at least 45 minutes and no longer than 60 minutes. According to Executive Director Pauline Moffatt, IndyFringe has served as a platform for LGBT issues and concerns from its beginning: “I think that in the early days when the LGBT movement didn’t have a platform in Indianapolis, Fringe was that platform. They were able to get up on stage and tell their stories of coming out, or having a sex change or whatever. Since then, I believe Fringe has played a great part in the education process, allowing audiences to meet and know LGBT community members and become familiar with their lives.”

Moffatt, whose IndyFringe staff and board include LGBT community members, is amazed at the momentum taking place in Indy as evidenced by the June 14 Indy Pride Parade which drew 40,000 observers and the Festival that followed it, where there were an estimated 90,000 in attendance. “When I came here 10 years ago and saw the first Pride Parade, it was only a handful of people. This year we marched in it and were so proud to be a part of it. We have always had a booth at the festival but have never been in the parade so it was incredible to see all those people cheering for us. The recognition we got from that audience was amazing.” Once again, the work of LGBT actors, directors, playwrights, designers and theatre technicians behind the scenes, will be featured in the 2014 IndyFringe Festival. Below are a few shows which should be of particular interest to LGBT audiences. Cabargay III: The Cabargayest! is a program of musical theatre and cabaret music presented by the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus, led by artistic director Greg Sanders.

“We are 100 percent uncensored,” Moffat emphasized. “IndyFringe allows anybody of any ethnicity, sexual orientation, or walk of life, to tell a story on stage. IndyFringe was founded through a community movement and one of the best ideas that came out of the meetings was the idea of a fringe festival which would embrace all members of the artistic community. It was the LGBT community that stepped up and came up with some amazing creative works. Many of those Fringe participants of the last 10 years have a wonderful following that really support what we do.” photos courtesy of IndyFringe

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Bonnie Bitch’s Sweet Dreams Comedy Hypnosis Show presented by Bonnie Bitch Productions of Las Vegas and written by Bonnie Bitch, combines comedy, magic, cabaret and audience participation. The show features America’s first and only comedy female impersonator hypnotist. Portraits like American Gothic presented by Casey Ross Productions of Indianapolis, combines drama with storytelling. In a play that puts the art of living on display, Jackson, creator of Gallery, who has become a household name, realizes that notoriety has come at the cost of his passion and his marriage. Meanwhile, Frank struggles to maintain a relationship with the couch-crashing Jackson. Entering their middle ages, both attempt to remember what bound them to each other, and to art.

$15 for Adults $12 for Seniors/ Students $5 for children under 12 For information about shows and tickets visit www.indyfringe.org.

Ghosts Are Frightening and Instructive by Cody Melcher of Chicago, is a dramedy about a young gay nerd who grows up in a chasm of a city in Texas striving to save a world that doesn’t want him to exist. Beau Heartbreaker is a comedy by Selina Jenkins of Australia, who plays Beau Heartbreaker, a man with a beard. Packed with hilarious tales of Beau’s worldly adventures and brilliantly composed songs, the cabaret show features, Jenkins, a seasoned performer whose astonishing vocal ability and depth and sincerity in remarkably convincing.

UNITE MAGAZINE | 15


HEALTH

COMING OUT AFTER 40

A RELATIONAL PERSPECTIVE by Matthew Grant Psy.D., HSPP

The old adage of being 40 and over the hill isn’t typically glitter and sparkles for most, but it rarely applies to those coming out after 40. Although this saying is ancient – no pun intended – I’d like to think that the 40s are the new 30s. At least thinking of aging in these terms might soften the blow to the ego!

About the author: Dr. Grant, Psy.D., HSPP is a clinical psychologist and sole proprietor of NorthStar Psychological + Consultation Services, LLC, located in the heart of downtown, Indianapolis. He is a psychotherapist, entrepreneur, consultant, educator, mentor, blogger, and public speaker.

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For those of you coming out after 40, rest assured, it’s not all downhill. Honestly, life is far from over when coming out after 40; in many ways, life is just beginning. Professionally, I’ve noticed an increase of individuals coming out after 40, which is partly due to the acceptance and support the LGBT community has received in recent years. However, while there’s greater support for the LGBT community than ever before, coming out after 40 can still be highly stressful. Because of this, being mindful about your coming out process, and how it may affect you and others you’re connected to, could prove

to be helpful for your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Coming out takes time, so take baby steps — there’s no rush. Remember that slow and steady wins the race. Most importantly though, regardless of your age or what you think or how you feel about your sexual orientation and/or sexual expression, coming out is a relational process. Here are a few things to keep in mind when coming out after 40: • Social relationships are impacted when coming out – especially when this happens later in life. That’s because by the time we’re in our 40s, relationships are pretty stable. Coming out can be difficult and confusing for your loved ones because they may not understand what’s happening, and might even require some savvy verbal skills on your part. To do


this, get some practice and share your story with one person that you’re confident would provide you with support. Then, begin taking similar steps with others. However, know and accept that not everyone is going to be supportive, so keep a realistic perspective that some relationships may change. • It’s likely you’ve had a significant long-term relationship that has included children. If so, you’ll be required to be sensitive to the needs of your children all while at the same time trying to lead a more authentic life. Whew, that seems like a lot of work! But, one sure way of knowing when sharing with your child(ren) is appropriate, is when they begin asking you questions about your sexuality or are curious about your life and relationships. If you’re unsure how to handle this, find a trusted therapist who can help you navigate these complexities. • When married, coming out isn’t only your process but also that of your spouse. This means that communicating effectively with your spouse is going to be very important when coming out, otherwise you’ll often feel frustrated, may become upset frequently, and may even experience depression. If you’re finding yourself in a constant state of tension and turmoil, and you desire to maintain your current relationship, a couples therapist may be necessary to find a healthier and more stable connection.

As I’ve reiterated throughout this article, coming out is a relational process, so making sure you have a support system that you feel comfortable with is crucial. During this time, one can feel socially isolated. If you believe you’re on shaky ground, take some time to build your network, particularly with those who would be supportive of you living more authentically. Lastly, although this isn’t an exhaustive list of what to expect when coming out after 40, I hope my thoughts provide you with some insight and also some hope that coming out after 40 isn’t all that bad. As George Eliot states, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” So with that said, how will you spend your next 40 years?

Additional Resources: Fellowship Indy (social group: men) http://www.fellowshipindy.org/ Lez Be Friends (social group: women) https://www.facebook.com/lezbfriends.indy Prime Timers Indianapolis (social group: men) http://primetimersww.com/indianapolis/

VISIT TODAY

w w w. i n d i a n a h i s t o r y. o r g

Step into historic photos to meet people from Indiana’s past. Experience the Destination Indiana “time machine” and interact with virtual journeys. It’s a new way to live history!

E U G E N E A N D M A R I LY N G L I C K INDIANA HISTORY CENTER DOWNTOWN ON THE CANAL | INDIANAPOLIS


feature

You Are Cordially Invited to the Union of Indiana & Equality

on the twenty-sixth day of June two thousand and fourteen


photos by Mark A. Lee of Great Exposures

UNITE MAGAZINE | 19


feature

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Join us at the 24th annual Indiana AIDS Walk

Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 • 4–6 p.m. Herron Morton Place Step-off at 22nd & Talbott Streets • A 11/2 mile walk • Live entertainment • Health and wellness fair • Pet pit stop, contests and more Proceeds benefit the Gregory R. Powers Direct Emergency Financial Assistance (DEFA) Fund, which supports Hoosiers living with HIV/AIDS.

Register your team (or join one) for free at www.indianaAIDSwalk.org. IndianaAIDSWalk

@IndianaAIDSWalk

INDIA

NA A IDS W ALK

2014


local star

Scott Barnes doesn’t often linger when taking a photograph. In fact, the purpose behind two of his photo series, The American People and Drifters &Wanderers, is to “find a subject and connect with them right at the moment.” No time to get overly nervous, fidget, or worry that the image is going to capture a double chin. Barnes just sets the lights, you smile, he clicks… and done. Barnes has been working on both series for the past couple of years, although the work he’s done with Drifters & Wanderers is his favorite. “It’s mysterious; I know what the theme is in my head, but I don’t reveal it,” he said, hoping the viewer will figure it out. The series includes one public/clothed shot, and one private/nude shot of the same subject. Most of the photographs are taken after dark and in places Barnes said you might not expect photography to happen. Wanting to stretch beyond the confines of his studio, he often photographs on location or at a friend’s house. Nerves are par for the photography course – especially when working with nude subjects. “A lot of people don’t like being photographed – even people that volunteer – because it makes them nervous,” Barnes said. “I usually ignore the fact that they don’t have any clothes on and I go about my work. Not making a big deal out of it calms people down very quickly. Doing little checks -- do you like the music, do you need a

Scott Barnes

Drifters, Gods, & American People: TALKING PHOTOGRAPHY WITH SCOTT BARNES by Chi Sherman glass of water, are you okay with what’s happening – also helps a lot.” A bit surprisingly, Barnes confesses, “I’m just as petrified as they are.” Enter the subjects of Barnes’ other series, The American People. They represent what Barnes says is “an interesting slice of what it’s like to live in the US,” but the series became something bigger for Barnes as he used the opportunity to build up his courage when approaching people. “It was kind of a personal thing that developed into something bigger,” Barnes said. “I wanted to make

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myself brave enough to walk up to someone and say, ‘I’m a photographer, I like your look, and what you’re doing right now. May I have permission to take your portrait?’” Barnes notes popular series like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York and Richard Renaldi’s Touching Strangers as a kind of inspiration for the project: “I like photography like that a lot; those kind of portraits are where you get people’s stories. You don’t have to have words to get a feel for what somebody is really like.” One of Barnes’ goals is to publish a book of his Drifters & Wanderers or Gods series. Given that the stigma around self-publishing has faded as quality has increased,


Amy

image appears courtesy of Scott Barnes

he may produce the work himself. He’d also like to see The American People grow to include more diverse subjects - especially women, people of different ages, and a wider range of ethnic backgrounds. Barnes is also interested in seeing his work in Australian magazine DNA. “They publish really high-quality work consistently and I feel like my style would work well for them,” Barnes said. One look at Barnes’ vast galleries confirms this fact. Visit Barnes’ website, www.sbarnesphotography.com for a closer look at his photographs, as well as information about buying prints and/or posing for one of his series.


dining review

Taverna: IT's not Greek by Karen Kennedy Ask anyone around town if they have been to Taverna, and they may answer, “Oh, is that the new Greek place on Broad Ripple Avenue?” Yes, the name is of Greek origin — it means a small, unpretentious café, much as bistro implies the same in French— but the food at Taverna is classic, upscale American cuisine. And it’s really quite extraordinary. Taverna’s décor is casual upscale. Rough-hewn, bare wooden table tops contrast with modern light fixtures and various shades of gray on the walls. You’ll find a cozy bar and a marvelous outdoor seating area with comfortable tables and chairs that make it the perfect place to have a quiet cocktail on a summer evening. However, at Taverna, the food takes center stage.

Taverna Porck Chop

Taverna’s carefully thought out menu is large enough to offer variety but small enough to allow chef Aaron Blake to zero in on each dish and make it sing. One standout dish from our dining experience was the applewood smoked bacon-wrapped scallop appetizer beautifully presented in a pool of leek cream sauce. While bacon-wrapped seafood of any kind is nothing new, this dish offered a complexity and depth of flavor not often found in an appetizer, and caused four well-mannered, sophisticated diners to wrestle rather ungraciously for every bite of the dish and every drop of the sauce. This unbecoming behavior reared its ugly head again when the grilled wedge with a creamy roasted-garlic and feta dressing arrived.

Taverna Filet

We also sampled the portabella fries, which were satisfyingly crunchy with a cornmeal crust. However, the red wine demi-glace dipping sauce felt a little rich and heavy. Perhaps a lighter sauce – such as an aioli or remoulade – would pair better. New menu item, the Kona-crusted filet, was nicely seared to a perfect medium-rare and accompanied by a killer chocolate-red wine-butter sauce. Taverna’s side dishes are served family style, and more than ample for four to share. Both the

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Taverna Carrot Cake


creamed spinach and the mushroom jasmine rice risotto were stellar.

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In the end, of all the dishes tasted on a recent visit, nothing sang louder than the delicate, buttery, flaky orange roughy with a light pepper and dill crust, nested on a bed of oven-dried tomatoes and a flawless lemon beurre blanc. Desserts, on the other hand, were a mixed bag. The German chocolate cake was disappointingly dry and decidedly un-chocolately but the carrot cake with maple cream cheese icing was spectacular. Both had nice presentation and were plenty to share. The coffee was an after-thought, and could definitely use some attention. Originally from Iowa and self-taught, Chef Blake is humble and unpretentious. While earning his stripes in local kitchens including Scholar’s Inn, Ambrosia and the Majestic Oyster Bar, this is his first time at the helm of a kitchen – and he is absolutely ready for it. The service staff capably describes and delivers his lovely food in an attentive and friendly way. Taverna also boasts an excellent and reasonably priced cocktail list concocted by mixologist Jason King. Delicious specialty lemonades are a perfect summer treat, available with or without alcohol. The ginger strawberry mojito is perfection. The wine list is small but well thought out, with some heavy hitters on the reserve list. While beautiful food in a lovely environment should be reason enough to venture out, Taverna also offers that other, magical element rarely found in Broad Ripple—parking! Just far enough off the beaten path, Taverna boasts a spacious lot out front that guarantees that you will not have to circle the block ten times and pray to the parking gods. Owned by Mary Toman with managing partner Michael Griswell, Taverna is approaching its one-year anniversary this fall. If you have not tried it yet, add it to the top of your to-do list. And go hungry. Taverna 1850 Broad Ripple Ave. 317-257-5972 www.tavernafoodspirits.com Reservations are encouraged.

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LGBT BUSINESS DIRECTORY ART & CULTURE Cabaret (317) 275-1169 www.thecabaret.org

Wells Fargo Advisors (317) 684-4969 brad.polo@wellsfargoadvisors.com

FUNERAL SERVICES

Eiteljorg Museum (317) 636-9378 www.eiteljorg.org

Legacy Cremation & Funeral (317) 637-3733 www.legacycremationfuneral.com

Indiana Historical Society (317) 232-1882 www.indianahistory.org

West Ridge Park Cemetery (317) 271-3123 www.westridgepark.org

Theatre on the Square (317) 685-8687 www.tots.org

BUSINESS CONSULTING GEI, Inc. (317) 885-7811 www.geilean.com

CLEANERS & LAUNDRY Fabric Care Cleaners (317) 917-3172 www.fabriccarecenter.com

COMPUTER SERVICES Techno Advantage (317) 857-0150 www.technoadvantage.com

FINANCIAL SERVICES Markel-Damer Financial Strategies (800) 428-6189 www.wfadvisors/maureen.damer

30 | UNITE MAGAZINE

INSURANCE State Farm (317) 786-8998 www.shannonismyagent.com Ward Insurance (317) 344-6694 www.insurewithward.com

LEGAL SERVICES Barbara Baird (317) 637-2345 www.lgbtindylaw.com Charles Braddock Law (765) 643-0511 www.charlesbraddocklaw.com Jeffery A. Evans (317) 252-4384 jeffevans@wkelaw.com

MARTIAL ARTS TigerLily Eastern Arts (317) 503-8197 www.tigerlilyeasternarts.org


LGBT BUSINESS DIRECTORY MEDICAL SERVICES

REAL ESTATE

Freedomway Therapy Services (317) 730-4433 freedomwaytherapy@yahoo.com

Asset One (317) 777-1805 www.lacysells.com

NorthStar Psychological (317) 632-3225 www.northstarpsych.com

Carpenter Realtors (317) 839-0099 www.pawsforhomes.com

Novak Counseling (317) 677-2728 www.novakcounseling.net

Cope Sells Indy (317) 201-6323 www.copesellsindy.com

MOVING SERVICES

L.J. Michaels (812) 234-8808 www.ljmichaels.com

Two Men & a Truck (317) 489-5750 www.twomen.com/indianapolis

NIGHTLIFE Greg’s (317) 638-8138 www.gregsindiana.com Talbott Street (317) 931-1343 www.talbottstreet.com

PHOTOGRAPHY Great Exposures (317) 443-8337 www.greatexposures.net

PRINTING SERVICES Print Resources (317) 833-7000 www.printindy.com

RESTAURANTS/BARS FortyFive Degrees (317) 634-4545 www.fortyfiveindy.com Mass Ave Pub (317) 974-0745 www.massavepub.com Metro (317) 639-6022 www.metro-indy.com Tini (317) 384-1313 www.tiniontheave.com

WEB SERVICES Chenoweth Content & Design (317) 831-7760 www.chenowethcreative.com

Be a part of the UNITE Magazine LGBT business directory. Email joey@unitemag.com for more information.

UNITE MAGAZINE | 31


destination

lux chicago by Joey Amato

Radisson Blu


Felini photos courtesy of Radisson Blu

When visiting the Windy City, LGBT travelers have dozens of hotel options to choose from. Whether you like small, boutique properties or opulent mega-hotels, there is something in Chicago for every taste and budget. There are also many interesting neighborhoods in the city. However, on this trip, we decided to highlight three luxurious properties situated in “The Loop,” the heart of downtown Chicago. Near the border of Lake Michigan, Radisson Blu is an 86-story, architectural masterpiece designed by Jeanne Gang and features luxurious guest rooms with unobstructed views of either the city or Millennium Park along with a conference space and an 8,000 square-foot fitness center as well as Felini, an

Italian-inspired restaurant and bar boasting a selection of over 100 wines. Guests can also experience the hotel’s beautifully landscaped lifestyle garden complete with a dedicated yoga space and fire pits as well as indoor and outdoor lap pool. More at www.radissonblu.com/aquahotel-chicago. Designed by renowned Chicago architect Harry Weese, Swissôtel is a four-diamond, all-glass triangular property. The hotel’s 661 rooms offer fabulous wrap-around views, and the building is just steps away from the Magnificent Mile, a shopper paradise. Guests can enjoy a daily breakfast buffet in Geneva, savor a delectable lunch or dinner at The Palm, or relish in a selection of small plates and cocktails in Amuse. If you wind up regretting your meal choices, head up to

Swissôtel’s new Penthouse Fitness Centre and pool, which boasts panoramic 42ndfloor views. More at www.swissotel.com/hotels/chicago. W Hotel City Center is located near Chicago’s financial and theatre districts. The rooms at W City Center are appointed with elegant furnishings, luxurious linens, and flat screen televisions. Guests can sip signature cocktails in the lobby’s Living Room, a space flanked with turquoise-splashed liquid table tops and black stoic chairs. Executive Chef Trevor Hoyte also prepares a delicious sharable menu, which includes a variety of enticing selections like truffle parmesan fries, cod fish fritters, and mussels with chorizo, saffron, and sun-dried tomatoes. More at www.wchicagocitycenter.com.

UNITE MAGAZINE | 33


lifestyle

TIME MANAGEMENT FOR SAME-SEX PARENTS by Lisa Howe Everything I learned about time management, I learned as a student-athlete. Since there was only so much time in the day to go to school, go to practice, and do homework, the skills I learned—and passed on to other student-athletes for over 15 years—were invaluable. Becoming a parent and raising a family is no different. Prioritizing, scheduling, and compartmentalizing serve as a strong foundation when one assumes the challenge of managing time for a family. Adding children to a family of two working parents magnifies the importance of practicing the following skills:

is easy to see which ones are musts, which are needs, and which are wants. We go through all the conflicts and throw out the activities that are lower on the priority list. When we have two high priorities that conflict, we know we need to find child care. It’s amazing how many things we used to think were musts or needs that now fall lower on the priority list when we don’t have the budget or means for child care. When we sit down the following Sunday, it means we are taking a second look at the upcoming week and adding a new week. This is not to say we don’t plan further out than two weeks, but it is important to revisit the schedule for the upcoming week.

Plan Ahead & Prioritize - Every Sunday night, my wife and I sit down and look through the schedule for the next two weeks. When we look at our activities for the week, it

Stick to a Schedule - This can be especially challenging for someone whose work is cyclical like a teacher, coach, CPA, or Pride Festival Director. Not to say these people are not busy

34 | UNITE MAGAZINE


Communicate - This requires much more than telling each other where we are going to be, and who is going to pick up our daughter from school. It takes communication to determine priorities, discuss your child’s needs, and evaluate how you are doing as parents and partners. There are responsibilities to divide, feelings to share, and best practices to address. For those who are more tech-savvy than our family, I have heard of many partners and spouses who synchronize their calendars or use other digital tools to share schedules and to-do lists. Compartmentalize - Focusing on the task at hand is so much more difficult today with technology feeding our desire for immediate news, instant gratification, and feedback. I can multi-task with the best of them, and often do when returning e-mails, writing newsletters, checking social media, and sending receipts, but when I was a coach, I preached to my players about compartmentalizing their time and their lives. When you are in class, pay attention and take notes for that hour. When you are at practice, don’t worry about tests, papers, significant others, parents, or money—just concentrate on soccer for the next 90 minutes.

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I compartmentalize my time with my daughter. As in sports, sometimes it takes mental cues. I often use the drive to daycare as my mental cue. On my drive, I mentally summarize my day, and establish priorities for the next time I work. If I need to make audio or written notes, I will do that in the parking lot. I put my phone in my purse before going inside the school, and I do not remove it until my daughter goes to bed that evening. This may only happen three nights a week, because I have events or meetings on other nights. Maybe three times a year, I will have a strict deadline that would cause me to stay tuned into calls and e-mails. But for 60% of weekend evenings, I compartmentalize that time for family. They deserve my focus and attention, and it is the only way for me to be the best parent and partner I can be.

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year-round, but they definitely have a busy season and a less busy season. We have always found it important to keep our family schedule as consistent as possible, no matter the season. Sometimes this requires outside help—family, friends, babysitters. Often times, it requires us to say ‘no’ to things that are not a priority during those 4-6 months or however long your busy season is. Prioritizing is definitely an integral component of time management.

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D dining

In the Kitchen

WITH CHEF JOSHUA SIMPSON

photo courtesy of Chef Joshua Simpson

BACON-INFUSED GOAT CHEESEBURGER (makes 4 burgers) Ingredients: • • • • • • • • •

2 pounds ground chuck 1/2 pound Benton bacon Goat cheese Arugula Grilled zucchini Grilled squash Thick sliced tomatoes Asiago cheese roll Twisted Fig’s Savor Dust # 1 seasoning (or your favorite beef seasoning) • Salt and black pepper Chef ’s note: Placing the bacon in the freezer for an hour before grinding will make grinding easier.

36 | UNITE MAGAZINE

In a food processor or a meat grinder, grind the bacon until it’s the same consistency as the ground beef. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, bacon, savor dust, salt and pepper. Divide into 4 equal parts and shape into round patties (patties should be at least an inch larger than the bun.) Place the burgers on a hot grill and cook to desired temperature. As the burgers are grilling add your squash and zucchini and cook them along with the burgers. During the last minute of cooking, butter your rolls and place on the grill to warm the buns and add grill marks. Place a few chunks of goat cheese on top of the burgers and let melt slightly. Stack your goat cheeseburger with the grilled zucchini, squash, arugula, and tomatoes on the warmed asiago roll and garnish with your favorite side items for the perfect summer burger.


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The Art of Reframing by Brian Hooper, M.Div., Psy.D.

Wroclam Contemporary Museum

What you create today will be on display tomorrow. Take time to be really present in the presence of whoever or whatever occupies you.

38 | UNITE MAGAZINE

photo by Easton Combs

Museum curators have evolved from their role of collecting, preserving, and rotating art to being interpreters of what is shared. They do this by framing in various ways—from actual frames to display formats and annotations that provide context. In so doing, even odd objects can become powerful artifacts that provide wonder, challenge, encouragement, or comfort to those who engage the exhibit. Curators are no longer simply keepers of the past, they are artists in their own right who make connections between past, present, and future. For those interested in living an artful life, a life in which the experiences of yesterday are curated (cared for) to provide thoughtful and soulful reflection today, a lesson can be learned from those who care for modern museums. Here are some thoughts: Make your frames a conscious choice. We cannot return to former glory days or to our pasts to make repairs. However, the past can help explain our present experience


and provide wisdom as we step into our future. To focus on the past alone is to miss the present and lose the future. In what time frame are you living? How does your past frame your present? And might your present provide a frame that changes the meaning of the picture of your past? Reframe as needed. As a curator of souls (that thin place in everyone where spirit and body meet), I see again and again people placing frames of interpretation around the words and actions of others that are not necessarily accurate and usually not helpful for the person doing the observation. The odd thing is, these frames just keep the observer so fixated that nothing else can be seen. What we observe in the words and behaviors of others is ultimately about them. Keep that frame in mind when it feels like it is all about you. Take a self-guided tour. What is the meaning of the artifacts that you surround yourself with today? Are they truly expressions of who you are? Or, do they simply lend you an image of what you would like others to see? And if the latter is your answer, then maybe a thoughtful inventory of your personal archive is in order. Pace yourself. What you create today will be on display tomorrow. Take time to be really present in the presence of whoever or whatever occupies you—notice the texture of what you are feeing, the energy of what you are thinking, the radiance of what you are imagining. The museum of memories we are filling is an interactive place. You can best choose tomorrow’s content by being awake and intentional in your actions today. We’ve all been in homes where the art was clearly chosen to match the sofa. And both may have been ordered from the same page of a catalog. Artful living has nothing to do with such a formulaic approach. Rather, it requires each of us to own our role as the artists of our own lives. Artful living requires a disciplined eye that observes both world and self, an eye well rested and longing to see life from a fresh perspective each day. And it is this eye that reframes everything. Brian Hooper, M.Div., Psy.D. is a licensed pastoral psychotherapist. He invites you to visit his website www.drbrianhooper.com.


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N

Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D.

photo courtesy of Jesse Ehrenfeld

NOW

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OF THE AMA ELECTED by Dan Groover

42 | UNITE MAGAZINE


FOOD & LIBATIONS | INTIMATE PERFORMANCES | OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

The American Medical Association (AMA) recently announced the election of Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., M.P.H., to the AMA Board of Trustees. With this announcement, Ehrenfeld becomes the first openly gay officer of the organization.

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“I am honored to be elected to the AMA Board of Trustees,” said Ehrenfeld. “My goal is to ensure the AMA continues as the preeminent voice of medicine, now and into the future.”

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Ehrenfeld divides his time in the fields of clinical practice, teaching and research. He is a board-certified anesthesiologist whose research on information technology in medicine has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation and the Foundation for Anesthesia Education and Research.

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“As I step into my new role, I look forward to serving as a voice for LGBT physicians, patients and their families,” Ehrenfeld stated. “The AMA has a longstanding policy in support of LGBT patients and providing the best care for those in our community. I know that as an out physician, I will be able to bring an important perspective into the board room, as important conversations about training, access, and quality continue to evolve.”

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Ehrenfeld served as the speaker of the Massachusetts Medical Society and is currently the director of research for the Boston-based Institute for Safety in Office-Based Surgery. He is also an associate professor and health medical director for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) patients at Vanderbilt University. “My election as the first openly gay officer of the American Medical Association represents a growing desire to embrace diversity of all types by our membership and voting delegates. I expect that my service will signal to other gay physicians and trainees across the country, that the AMA is an organization that embraces the true diversity of our profession and is a place where all voices are welcome.”

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Gay & Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) Executive Director Hector Vargas praised the announcement. “As we celebrate LGBT pride, I am moved by the fact that Dr. Ehrenfeld’s inclusion in the leadership of the largest physician group in the U.S. will continue to advance LGBT health equality. AMA policies have significant influence on public policy efforts and the inclusion of an openly gay health professional voice among AMA leadership will have far reaching implications for LGBT patients and health professionals across the country.”

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Last June, GLMA became the first and only LGBT organization to have a voting seat in the AMA House of Delegates, signaling a major shift to advance understanding of LGBT healthcare needs and promote equality. “GLMA looks forward to continuing our work with Ehrenfeld and others within the AMA and across all health professional associations to address the health needs facing the LGBT community,” Vargas added.

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M MUSIC

APOCALYPSE WOW by, F. Daniel Kent

photo courtesy of MUTE Records

A chill drifted lazily in the air as we made our way through the labyrinthine byways in search of our seemingly clandestine destination. The phone call that led us here with quiet whispers was specific: There would be a prearranged meeting place – Project Gallery, they called it. Select supplicants were instructed to gather at the designated time for an audience with their elusive Leader in which he was expected to reveal the final piece of his manifesto on the end of the world – this time in photographic form. I cannot remember a time when Moby’s legend had not already began to cast a shadow across the landscape of popular music. Quiet whispers of his power and influence grew quickly into shouts of adulation and idolization. Starting out as a little known DJ and producer who some thought talked about Christianity perhaps a bit too much, Moby’s message – telegraphed via high-

44 | UNITE MAGAZINE

end electronic music – soon began gaining traction. The seemingly unassuming DJ morphed into something bigger than his sleight frame would indicate and he would go on to earn a litany of awards and commendations for his body of work. He became a fiercely vocal advocate for animal rights and vegetarian living who displayed no hesitation in educating the largely ignorant public on his views. When the increasingly popular musician publicly spoke for the first time about his bisexuality, one could practically hear the ground tremble as a legion of repressed Baptist frat boys fell face first into the surrounding pavement. According to Moby’s most recent epistle to his followers Innocents, the Cult of Innocents holds its origins in the long-scheduled apocalypse of 2012, which quietly overthrew the world as we know it while everyone was

looking somewhere else. Citing inspiration in the culture’s recent obsession with the apocalypse and a new found appreciation of the long history of cults in his transplanted home of Los Angeles, Moby dove headlong into detailing how this so-called Cult of Innocents would come about in response to the quiet apocalypse. “I had this idea of inventing a post-apocalyptic cult,” the artist accounted for his process. “The last two thousand years or more almost all cults have been pre-apocalyptic. Cults justify their existence by saying they have access to hidden information, which has told them that the apocalypse is just about to happen. I thought it would be an interesting premise that the apocalypse has happened and this is a cult that’s responding to it.” From the opening melodic strains of “Everything that Rises” giving way to the trippy


melancholy of “A Case For Shame,” to the emotional soar of “The Perfect Life” and the drunken Bukowski-soaked solitude of “The Lonely Night”, Moby never flexes his artistic muscles more than a mid-tempo. Delivered with deft precision and attention to detail, he successfully eschews the stadium anthems, which made him a mainstream EDM darling, for atmosphere electrifying siren stories rife with lilting harmonies and half whispered, dulcet tones. Like the eerily masked members of Cult of Innocents, every note is haunted by shadows of detail and foreshadowed darkness lying in wait within the lines of the songs. This belies the almost relaxing air of resplendence and even a sort of joy elicited by the arrangements at times. Rather than giving it all away from the top of the rafters, listeners are required to lean in a bit to catch every nuance. The powerhouse warmth and enveloping delivery of Innocents’ musical musings are facilitated with an assembly of co-conspirators including Cold Specks, Mark Lanegan and the iconoclastic Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips. The accompanying photo exhibition of the same name cannot be so easily digested. “I’m really fascinated when we are confronted by things that are essentially neutral but we bring so much meaning to them,” Moby spoke about his motivations in the creation of Innocents. “My hope is for people to be unsettled...confronted with this sort of contradictory information where you take neutral elements that trigger a defensive reaction in people. People will be drawn in because the pictures are large, colorful and eye catching. So, it’s creating a degree of cognitive aesthetic dissonance where the brain doesn’t quite know what it’s supposed to be responding to.”

a musician tries to be a visual artist, it doesn’t work out very well. I’m sure you’ve had that experience where you look at a musician’s visual art and it’s oftentimes kind of disappointing. I was assuming that if I finally tried to do something as a visual artist I would fall into that category.” Only recently having moved to Los Angeles after being a certified New Yorker for most of his life, the multifaceted artist freely admits his new surroundings seriously influenced these ideas. “When you’re in New York or you’re in Paris or you’re in London or you’re in Milan, you really feel like they’re solid established cities that were formed by smart successful people and they’ve been around for a while and they will continue to be around for a while,” he expounded on the idea. “Then, you come to L.A. and it seems like a dysfunctional Petri dish. So much interesting art comes out of here because in a way L.A. is one of these cracked dysfunctional edge cities. There’s this pervasive strangeness and in my own weird way I saw that as being kind of apocalyptic, like representing the crumbling of the old and the replacement with the new. So I started simply looking at the world around me and looking for evidence that the apocalypse was happening.” If there were ever to be a soundtrack for the end of the world, Innocents would be a worthy frontrunner with the photo accompaniments serving as sort of a visual guide for what the world looks like beneath the mask of normalcy. This serves to remind one that even the most silver of linings is but a brightly colored frock for the dark cloud that spawned it.

The large format photographs ominously depict various persons – sometimes alone, sometimes in small groups - in banal locales sometimes in nature and sometimes in grocery stores or swimming pools. Many of the looming figures are bedecked with robes of the purest white completed – if not complimented by – eerie animal masks that not only obscure the identities of the participants but also elicit a subtle undercurrent of anxiety and at times even borderline panic at the sudden onset of the unknown. Are they benign? Are they hostile? These pervasive vibes haunt each image with an almost palpable presence drawing in the viewer with their gravity and repealing them with the same force. Moby’s avid relationship with photography dates back to the same era as his burgeoning interest in music, despite not having shared his photography prior to recent years. At the age of ten, his mother’s ex-boyfriend left behind a guitar and the boy who would become Moby began to learn to play. At around the same time, an uncle who was a photographer for the _New York Times_ gave him his first Nikon. Having successfully pursued music, Moby felt somewhat intimidated by the idea he might be thought of as a dilettante should he dare to make his photos available to the public. “It was more than just feeling like I couldn’t live up to my uncle’s work,” Moby elaborated. “It’s the long strange history of musicians trying to be visual artists. If we’re being honest, most instances when

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REVIEW film

THE NORMAL HEART by Joseph Brownell additional reporting by TaMon Kane

There is a forgotten anger and urgency at the forefront of the 1985 play The Normal Heart. After decades of failed attempts to bring Larry Kramer’s groundbreaking work to the (big) screen, Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, Glee) and HBO Films team up, bringing the profile of a high caliber cast to a story that has sadly relegated itself into the background of our community conversation. Kramer, co-founder of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), penned the fictitious play during the rise of the HIV/AIDS virus in an early 80s New York City. The Normal Heart also served as an outlet for Kramer’s real-life disappointment with the bureaucratic obstacles in response to tackling the disease. The story follows the Larry Kramer-lite Ned Weeks, played with enlightened intensity by Mark Ruffalo, from his first introductions to the HIV/AIDS virus through his activism efforts and bureaucratic frustrations with both his own community and government response. After reading about a ‘rare cancer’ affecting homosexuals in The New York Times, Weeks seeks out Dr. Brookner, played by a miscast—but influential—Julia Roberts. Dr. Brookner, convinced that homosexual males need to stop having sex, urges Weeks to help raise awareness in the community.

photo courtesy of HBO Films

Throughout the film, Murphy and the cast stay sharp in their focus to deliver a deft blend of the gravity and fear that men (and women) who stepped up as community leaders felt during such an ambiguous time. The film succeeds in its blunt translation of the not-too-distant past, which speaks more to the raw emotion of the original source material.

During a long period of government neglect, Weeks and several friends, including Bruce Niles (Taylor Kitsch) and Tommy Boatwright (Jim Parson), form the GMHC. The organization, fractured almost at its inception by divided opinions on effectual response, works to raise funds for research and establishes counseling and telephone hotlines amongst its grassroots community services.

While just shy of 30 years since its beginnings as a stage play and nearly four years since its Broadway revival, The Normal Heart should serve as reminder of an all but dissipated anger and urgency within our community. Much like the seven years it took President Regan to utter the words AIDS in public, there is a growing haze of apathy in terms of education, knowledge and discussion about the impact of the virus within the LGBT community.

If the film weren’t already heavy in its subject matter, through his activism Weeks meets and falls in love with Felix Turner (Matt Bomer), thus adding an additional element of inescapable tragedy.

And with increasing infections in young homosexual men of color and transgender women of color, it’s time to ACT UP again. Because anyone with a heart knows now, this isn’t normal.

46 | UNITE MAGAZINE


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This issue celebrates same-sex marriage in Indiana.

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