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NEWS NEWS
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AUGUST 6-19, 2009
VOL. EIGHT, ISS. 16
© GAY CITY NEWS 2009 • COMMUNITY MEDIA, LLC, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
FRINGENYC
21
DWAN PRINCE, SEEN IN 2009, SAYS HIS FLIRTING LED TO BRUTAL ANTI-GAY ATTACK
BY DUNCAN OSBORNE
I
n a move that may complicate the
retrial of Steven Pomie in the 2005
attack on Dwan Prince, Prince sent
Pomie a letter in which he blamed him-
self for the brutal, anti-gay assault and
expressed the hope that Pomie serve just
five years in prison, with five years post-
release supervision for the crime.
“First please allow me to deeply apol-
ogy for my hated comment,” Prince
wrote in the July 20 letter, which Gay
City News is quoting verbatim. “Please
I do hope you know I am truly deeply
sorry for what ever was sayed that night.
I have made some big mistakes in my life
and that was the stupidiest and biggest
one of all.”
Pomie, now 26, allegedly attacked
Prince in Brooklyn’s Brownsville section
after the now 31-year-old flirted with
him. Pomie first beat and kicked Prince
with two other men, and then made a
second assault with another man, wit-
nesses said during Pomie’s 2006 trial.
When Pomie returned alone to deliver a
third beating, witnesses prevented him
from attacking Prince, who was lying
unconscious on the sidewalk.
One witness testified that as Pomie
A Victim Takes
the Blame
■ E. LYNN HARRIS, 1955-2009
The visible life of an
iconic black gay novelist
■ 3
—————————————————
■ SHOW US THE MONEY
Four scramble to succeed Bill
Thompson as comptroller
■ 6
—————————————————
■ HURTS SO GOOD
Tortured gay teens just
the start of “Slipping”
■ 31
In this issue:
VICTIM P. 4
G
A
Y
C
IT
Y
N
E
W
S
■ SPORTS
Buoyancy
Trumps
Disruption at
Copenhagen
Out Games
BY MICHAEL T. LUONGO
T
hey certainly are the Games that
could, even if they have been a
mix of trial and triumph. The
worldwide recession could not stop
them from happening; the Opening Cer-
emony was drenched by a thunderous
downpour and later marred by a horrific
gay bashing following the event, leaving
three men in the hospital. Tuesday saw
Roman candles, the kind of fireworks
long banned in the United States, fired
off in an attack on the track and field
competitions. Yet none of this put a sig-
nificant damper on Copenhagen’s World
Out Games and the enthusiasm partici-
pants and most locals had for them.
The Games were woven into the fabric
of the small Danish capital. According to
Uffe Elbaek, the CEO of the World Out
Games, “We made a conscious decision
to hold events in the center of the town,
rather than in stadiums far outside,
so that locals could make a choice to
OUT GAMES P. 12
TEL AVIV P. 8
■ CRIME
What Do the Tel
Aviv Shootings
Mean?
BY YOAV SIVAN
W
hat do this past weekend’s
shootings of lesbian and gay
youth in Tel Aviv tell us about
Israeli society? It’s not an easy ques-
tion. As a pluralistic, democratic nation,
there are many sides to Israel. How the
nation views the lesbian, gay, bisexual,
and transgender community is every bit
as varied.
There is progressive Israel, a beacon
of LGBT civil rights on par with New
York or San Francisco. This is the Israel
of Tel Aviv, where same-sex couples hold
hands on the street and where LGBT
people have visibility and presence in
every walk of life in society. This is the
Israel where the annual LGBT parade
and the LGBT community center receive
funding from the municipality. In fact,
Tel Aviv would be the last place where
you might have expected last week’s
shootings to occur.
But Israel is not just Tel Aviv. It is also
the Israel of Jerusalem and religious com-
munities across the country; the Israel
of cabinet ministers, Knesset members,
and rabbis who specialize in incitement
6 - 19
AUG
2009
14 DAYS
14 NIGHTS
2/ History
Pioneers With Pens
ONE magazine forged early homosexual visibility in post-war Los Angeles
BY DOUG IRELAND
T
he very first homosex-
ual publication to have
appeared with any regu-
larity in the US was Vice Versa,
which surfaced in Los Angeles in
June 1947. It was produced by
a secretary at RKO Studios who
called herself Lisa Ben, an ana-
gram for “lesbian,” and it lasted
for nine issues. It “fluctuated
from 14 to 20 stapled pages con-
sisting of play and film reviews,
poetry, fiction, and pointed social
commentary through a ‘Queer
as It Seems’ department.” Only
ten copies were produced and
distributed to a close circle of
friends who in turn were to pass
it on to others.
This is one of the nuggets of
largely forgotten gay history to
be gleaned from “Pre-Gay L.A.”
by C. Todd White, a visiting pro-
fessor of anthropology at James
Madison University, who based
the book on his doctoral thesis.
The volume’s subtitle is “A Social
History of the Movement for
Homosexual Rights,” but that is
somewhat misleading, because
most of the book is a minutely
detailed organizational history of
ONE, Inc. and ONE magazine.
It may be difficult for young
queers of today, who’ve grown
up watching “Will and Grace”
and surfing the multitude of
gay offerings on the Internet, to
understand what extraordinary
courage it took for the women
and men chronicled here to
begin organizing associations
of homosexuals. White is right
to point out the importance to
gay organizing of Alfred Kinsey’s
famous, best-selling 1948 study
of sexuality, which, for the first
time, documented a stunning
array of same-sex attractions
and practices, breaking the
sense of isolation in which the
sexual dissidents of the 1940s
and 1950s lived. There is no
better description of the reign of
terror under which homosexu-
als struggled to survive in that
dark time than Kinsey’s, for as
he wrote then:
“Rarely has man been
more cruel against man
than in the condemnation
and punishment of those
accused of the so-called
sexual perversions. The
punishment for sexual acts
which are crimes against
persons has never been
more severe. The penalties
have included imprison-
ment, torture, the loss of
life and limb, banishment,
blackmail, social ostracism,
the loss of social prestige,
renunciation by friends
and families, the loss of
position in school or in
business, severe penalties
meted out for convictions of
men serving in the armed
forces, public condemna-
tion by emotionally inse-
cure and vindictive judges
on the bench, and the tor-
ture endured by those who
live in perpetual fear that
their non-conformist sexual
behavior will be exposed to
public view. These are the
penalties which have been
imposed on and against
persons who have failed
to adhere to the mandat-
ed customs. Such cruel-
ties have not often been
matched, except in religious
and racial persecution.”
No wonder that, as White
writes, “Homosexual people
sensed they had a champion in
Kinsey.” And in laying the foun-
dation for an organization of
homosexuals that would even-
tually become the Mattachine
Society at the end of 1950, its
legendary founder, Harry Hay,
and his lover, Rudi Gernreich,
when collecting signatures on
California’s beaches for the
Communist-inspired Stock-
holm Peace Petition against the
Korean War, would initiate dis-
cussions with signers by ask-
ing, “Have you read the ‘Kinsey
Report’?” In this way, they built
up lists of names for future use
in queer organizing.
One of Mattachine’s seven
founding members was Dale
Jennings, a World War II com-
bat veteran who, like Hay, was
a Communist. When he was
arrested on a phony charge of
having solicited sex from an
undercover cop, Jennings was
persuaded by Hay to fight the
charge in court, and with the
aid of left-wing civil rights law-
yer George Shibley — who had
come to prominence as the
defense lawyer for the Mexican-
Americans in the famous 1940s
“Zoot Suit” murder case, a fact
White doesn’t mention — Jen-
nings eventually had his case
dismissed. Mattachine, which
had formed a Citizen’s Commit-
tee to Outlaw Entrapment to
fight the Jennings case, saw its
membership boom as a result.
The merit of White’s book
is that it rescues from unjust
obscurity Jennings, the first edi-
tor of ONE magazine, and other
founders of ONE, Inc. Another
central figure in ONE was Wil-
liam Lambert Dorr Legg — who
frequently used the pseudonym
Bill Lambert — a professor of
landscape architecture and one
of ONE’s most erudite figures.
Legg and his African-American
partner, Merton Bird, in the late
1940s had founded the Knights
of the Clock, a small social and
mutual aid organization for
mixed-race homosexual cou-
ples, and several of their fellow
Knights joined them when Jen-
nings and Legg led a split from
the Mattachine Society to form
ONE in November 1952.
The premier issue of ONE
magazine, the first pro-gay pub-
lication distributed publicly in
the US, appeared in January
1953, and was peddled by its
creators “from bar stool to bar
stool” in the many Los Ange-
les gay bars for the price of a
beer (20 cents). If Jennings
was, according to White, “the
heart of ONE magazine… dur-
ing its first year,” the publica-
tion’s dominant figure thereaf-
ter was another of its founders,
Don Slater, a young University
of Southern California gradu-
ate, thanks to the GI Bill, with
a degree in English, who would
be supported during his long
tenure as the magazine’s edi-
tor by his Latino lover, Antonio
Sanchez, a musician who also
helped start ONE.
By the end of its first year,
ONE magazine could boast of
nearly a thousand subscribers,
with another 1,500 copies dis-
tributed through newsstands.
Lesbian activists like Stella
Rush, Corky Wolf, and Joan
Corbin also played an impor-
tant role in the magazine, seeing
to its art work, writing articles,
and performing many of the
technical and workaday chores
needed to publish it.
After three issues, ONE mag-
azine gave birth to ONE, Inc.
Legg, who was hired as business
manager at the princely sum of
$25 a week and thus became
the first full-time employee of
a homosexual organization in
America, increasingly began to
conceive of the organization as
a broader-reaching institution.
᭤ 14 DAYS, continued on p.7
THU.AUG.6
THEATER
Black Queer
Protagonists
Freedom Train Productions, founded
in 2006 under the artistic direction of
Andre Lancaster, presents “Fire! New
Play Festival 2009,” three weeks of polit-
ical theater by emerging playwrights fea-
turing black queer protagonists. In Derek
Lee McPhatter’s “Bring the Beat Back”
(Aug. 6), the beat is your last best hope
for salvation. In Ayanna Maia’s “Woman
to Woman” (Aug. 12 & 13), black women
loving black women is a revolutionary
act. And in Patricia Ione Lloyd’s “Dirty
Little Black Girls” (Aug. 19 & 20), rebel
nannies put their Park Slope employers
on notice. All staged readers are at
7:30 p.m., with a StoryCorps inter-
view with the playwright preceding
each reading at 7. 138 S. Oxford St.,
btwn. Hanson Pl. & Atlantic Ave.,
Fort Greene, Brooklyn. For complete
information, visit freedomtrainproduc-
tions.org/fire.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
PERFORMANCE
It’s Hot Out There
This summer marks the 18th Annual
Dixon Place HOT! Festival, a pioneering
festival of queer performance and culture,
running through Aug. 8, that bills itself
as the oldest continually running festival
of its kind in the world. The festival hub is
the brand new Dixon Place theater com-
plex, with a 120-seat lab theater and an
intimate performance café, at 161 Chrystie
St., btwn. Rivington & Delancey Sts. In
the one-woman rock theater show star-
ring Julia Steele Allen, a gay 17-year old
boy in an East Texas town is murdered,
and his family struggles to deal with
their loss and his legacy (Aug. 6 & 7, 8-9
p.m.). In “Money Talks — Citizen Reno,”
the beloved and feared downtown solo
performer returns with her take on the
economy, in a rant that gives voice to
the qualms and queries of the Every(wo)
man while removing some of the mys-
tery shrouding finance, Wall Street, and
money (Aug. 6, 8-9:30 p.m.). And the
Gender Fluids, a trio of performance art-
ists — Kaj-anne, Lee Kyle, and Ferro —
reunite for one night only in an evening of
multi-media, dance, and various mishaps
involving drag (Aug. 8, 8-9 p.m.). For
complete details, tickets prices, and reser-
vations, visit hotfestival.org.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
PRE-GAY L.A.
A SOCIAL HISTORY OF THE MOVE-
MENT FOR HOMOSEXUAL RIGHTS
By C. Todd White
University of Illinois Press
$25; 280 pages;
᭤ PIONEERS, continued on p.14
ONE magazine, the first pro-gay
publication distributed publicly in
the US, was peddled by its creators
“from bar stool to bar stool.”
6 - 19
AUG
2009
Remembrance /3
The Visible Life of E. Lynn Harris
Gay African-American novelist who explored black American closet dead at 54
BY DON WEISE
E
. Lynn Harris, among
the most commercially
successful gay novelists
of all time and one of the most
beloved African-American writ-
ers, if not simply one of the most
beloved authors of the past 20
years, died of a heart attack on
July 23 at the age of 54. His
debut book, “Invisible Life,” an
explicit and unapologetic look
at the emotional struggles of
closeted African-American men,
broke the silence around homo-
sexuality in the black Ameri-
can community when it was
self-published in 1991. Once
Doubleday reissued the novel in
1994, the book became a sensa-
tion and his first of ten New York
Times bestsellers, including his
most recent work, “Basketball
Jones.”
I happened to help E. Lynn
with some of the writing in
“Basketball Jones” only last
summer. It’s therefore poignant
in the saddest way that one year
later I’m writing his obituary —
doubly so because up ’til now I
didn’t think I knew E. Lynn that
well. It took his death to see how
truly fond of him I was.
We first met about ten years
ago, when I was still new to pub-
lishing and got up the courage
to ask him to blurb the reissue
of Melvin Dixon’s novel “Vanish-
ing Rooms.” As luck would have
it, Melvin, a black gay writer
who died of AIDS in 1992, had
been his literary inspiration,
and E. Lynn offered to help
however he could.
Actually, that was our first
professional meeting. Our first
encounter took place in 1995
in a clothing shop in West Hol-
lywood, where a black gay
friend was lamenting his situa-
tion as an unpublished writer. I
couldn’t help but notice a man
on the other side of the clothing
rack listening intently. Finally
he walked over and put out his
hand to the writer: “I’m E. Lynn
Harris, and I want to tell you to
never give up. You can make it
if you really try.” Already a star,
he blew us away with his unmo-
tivated kindness. When I told
him that story ten years later,
after he and I had put together
the anthology “Freedom in this
Village” — a collection of black
gay men’s writing from 1980 for-
ward — he only smiled, as if he
heard this kind of feedback all
the time, which, given his repu-
tation for generosity, I imagine
he did.
At first I didn’t fully real-
ize how widely adored he was,
especially by his fans. However,
I quickly saw the light; once
when I sent him flowers in con-
gratulation of a book or some
Gay City
NEWS NEWS
TM
now
Ch l e sea
2009 New York City Council
District 3 Democratic
Primary Election Debate
Yetta
Kurland
Maria
Passannante-Derr
Christine
Quinn
PRESENTED BY:
New York University,
19 West Fourth St., Room 101
between Mercer and Greene Sts.
(one and a half blocks east of Washington Square Park)

N.Y.U. asks people to bring ID to get into building.
Thursday,
August 13,
7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
MODERATED BY:
The Villager’s
Lincoln Anderson
& Gay City News’
Paul Schindler
E. Lynn Harris, 1955-2009 ᭤ HARRIS, continued on p.19
6 - 19
AUG
2009
4/ Crime
walked away from the scene, he
quickly turned back and “kicked
[Prince] with his Tims,” refer-
ring to the Timberland brand
of boots. “Then blood started
gushing,” the witness said.
A second witness testified
that Pomie said, “Yo, leave it
alone son, the nigger’s gay,”
when asked why he had beaten
Prince. The prosecutor in the
case asked if Pomie had used
the word “gay,” and the witness
responded, “He said, ‘He’s a fag-
got.’”
A jury convicted Pomie on
charges of first-degree assault
and first-degree assault as a
hate crime after deliberating
for less than a day. He was sen-
tenced to 25 years in prison,
with the requirement that he
serve just over 21 years before
being eligible for release.
In 2008, a state appellate
court reversed the convic-
tion, dismissed the first-degree
assault charges, and ordered
that he be retried on the less-
er charges of second-degree
assault and second-degree
assault as a hate crime.
Prince was a witness at the
first trial, though he has no
memory of the assault. His testi-
mony illustrated the devastating
results of the attack. His more
sympathetic posture toward
Pomie could sway a jury. While
the assault left Prince partially
paralyzed, he blamed himself.
“I was at blame so it is my to
my strongest degree that you get
out as soon as possible,” Prince
wrote.
Pomie was jailed following his
2005 arrest in the attack, and
he remained in jail throughout
the trial, with that time count-
ing toward his final sentence.
Prince wrote, “What I asked the
state to do is sentence you to
five years and five years parole.”
He also expressed the hope that
they could be friends.
“Steve you changed me!”
Prince wrote. “So hopefully
when you get out we can hang
out. You know me. I know you.
I help you calm that angry
machine down. And allow you
to know I am not gay but a lover,
and you can find me a female I
can love and can love me.”
Prince has been attending a
Bible study class at the River-
side Church, a liberal congre-
gation, but he said he has not
discussed his changed sexual
orientation there.
“I am looking to change my
life these days,” Prince, who
is HIV-positive, told Gay City
News. “I am looking for a female
who I can marry and have my
sperm washed and have chil-
dren... With me going to church,
I feel myself that I must try to
live by the Bible, I must try to
live by God’s law.”
It appeared at a July 13 hear-
ing that Pomie and the Brooklyn
district attorney were negotiat-
ing a plea deal, but that seems
to have collapsed. The two sides,
at an August 4 hearing, set a
trial date for September 1.
When his conviction was
reversed, Pomie was transferred
from the state prison system to
Rikers Island where he remains,
unable to make bail. Prince did
not know if Pomie had received
his letter and he is considering
sending him a second.
“I want him to know that, if he
read or if he didn’t read it, I want
him to know my emotion and
feeling behind what happened,”
Prince said. “I want him to know
my true emotion and love for
him. There is a God that looks
over everybody and he raised
me from death and Steven was
not able to kill me... I don’t hate
him for trying to kill me.”
The Brooklyn district attor-
ney’s office declined comment,
and Bharati Narumanchi ,
Pomie’s Legal Aid Society attor-
ney, did not respond to requests
for comment. In an email, the
New York City Gay and Les-
bian Anti-Violence Project (AVP)
declined to comment.
᭤ VICTIM, from p.1
“I was at blame so it is my to my
strongest degree that you get out as
soon as possible,” Prince wrote.
NEWS BRIEFS By PAUL SCHINDLER
ENDA
Introduced in
the Senate
For the time, a bill to provide
employment nondiscrimination
protections based on both sexual
orientation and gender identity
has been introduced in the United
States Senate. On August 5, Dem-
ocrats Ted Kennedy of Massachu-
setts and Jeff Merkley of Oregon,
joined by Republ i cans Susan
Collins and Olympia Snowe of
Mai ne, brought forward the
Employment Non-Discrimination
Act of 2009, prohibiting employ-
ers and labor unions from dis-
criminating on the basis on actual
or perceived sexual orientation
and gender identity. A release
from the four senators noted that
similar protections already exist
based on categories including
race, religion, gender, national
origin, age, and disability. Thirty-
four other senators, all of them
Democrats, have signed on to the
bill. More than 150 House mem-
bers co-sponsor the companion
legislation in that chamber.
In 2007, the House passed a
version of ENDA that included
only sexual orientation protec-
tions, after Barney Frank, the out
gay Massachusetts Democrat who
was the bill’s lead sponsor, said
keeping protections based on gen-
der identity in the bill doomed its
chances for passage. The Human
Rights Campaign supported pas-
sage of that stripped-down mea-
sure, but more than 300 other
LGBT groups refused to do so. This
year, Frank and HRC have vowed to
hang tough for the fully inclusive
approach, which President Barack
Obama has committed to sign.
Sailor Held in
Gay Sailor’s
Murder Commits
Suicide
Petty Officer Jonathan Cam-
pos, the 32-year-old sailor charged
in the murder of Seaman August
Provost, 30, committed suicide in
the brig at Camp Pendleton in San
Diego, where the slaying had taken
place in the early morning hours of
June 30. The Associated Press
reported that Campos was found
“unresponsive” in his jail cell on
July 31 and rushed to the base hos-
pital, where he was pronounced
dead, apparently of asphyxiation.
The Navy said Campos had been
checked earlier in the afternoon.
Provost, who was gay, was
shot several times as he stood
guard duty at the base. Saying that
Provost had faced anti-gay harass-
ment in the months leading up to
his murder, his family, who live in
Houston, expressed concerns that
may have factored into the crime.
Some gay advocates noted that
the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell military
policy could have held Provost back
from bringing the harassment to
his superiors’ attention. The Navy,
however, has steadfastly claimed
that its investigation turned up no
evidence that homophobia con-
tributed to Provost’s death. When
Campos was arrested, he was
also charged with having used hal-
lucinogenic mushrooms in the two
months prior to the murder, and of
having solicited a San Diego civil-
ian to murder another sailor the
day after Provost’s slaying.
Milk, Billie Jean
among Medal
of Freedom
Winners
The late Harvey Milk and tennis
great Billie Jean King are among
16 “agents of change” that Presi-
dent Barack Obama has selected
to receive the Presidential Medal of
Freedom, the nation’s highest civil-
ian honor. “Each saw an imperfect
world and set about improving it,
often overcoming great obstacles
along the way,” the president said of
the honorees, in a written statement
released by the White House on
July 30. “Their relentless devotion to
breaking down barriers and lifting up
their fellow citizens sets a standard
to which we all should strive.”
Referring the San Francisco
city supervisor assassinated along
with Mayor George Moscone in
1978, Obama said, “Milk encour-
aged lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender citizens to live their
lives openly and believed coming
out was the only way they could
change society and achieve social
equality… Milk is revered nation-
ally and globally as a pioneer of
the LGBT civil rights movement
for his exceptional leadership and
dedication to equal rights.”
King, he said, “Helped champi-
on gender equality issues not only
in sports, but in all areas of public
life…. King became one of the
first openly lesbian major sports
figures in America when she came
out in 1981.”
Among the other honorees
are retired Supreme Court Justice
Sandra Day O’Connor, Senator Ted
Kennedy of Massachusetts, cur-
rently battling brain cancer, Jack
Kemp, the 1996 Republican vice
presidential nominee who died in
May, the civil rights leader Rever-
end Joseph Lowery, Sidney Poitier,
Chita Rivera, Mary Robinson, the
former president of Ireland, and
Desmond Tutu, the retired Angli-
can archbishop of South Africa.
The honors will be presented
at a White House ceremony on
August 12. Milk’s award will be
accepted by his out gay nephew,
Stuart Milk.
Retaliation
Against Hate
Crime Witnesses
Suspected
Just five days after 20-year-old
Dwight DeLee was convicted of
manslaughter in the first-degree as
a hate crime and criminal posses-
sion of a weapon in the November
2008 slaying of Lateisha Green,
a 22-year-old African American
transgendered woman in Syra-
cuse, the father of two prosecution
witnesses was shot and critically
injured. Johnny Gaston Sr., 47,
whose son, Johnny Gaston, Jr.,
and daughter, Jasmine Gaston,
testified against DeLee, was shot
in the neck early in the evening
on July 22, the Syracuse Post-
Standard reported. Lavaughn Polk,
22, who lives on the same street
as the elder Gaston, was also
shot about the same time. “We’re
looking at the possibility that this
may be some kind of retaliation,”
Syracuse police sergeant Tom
Connellan said. “We’re looking at
that very closely.” During DeLee’s
trial, County Judge William Walsh
warned the defendant that severe
consequences would ensue if he
were linked to reports of threats
made against potential witnesses.
The newspaper reported that the
two younger Gastons “balked at
providing the same incriminat-
ing information about DeLee they
had initially provided police.”
According to the Transgender
Legal Defense & Education Fund,
DeLee’s conviction was the first in
New York State for a hate crime
killing of a transgendered person,
and only the second in the nation.
New York’s hate crime law does
not specifically provide protections
based on gender identity. However,
DeLee’s use of the word “faggot”
while attacking Green allowed
the prosecutor to employ the hate
crime enhancement, which will
likely add to the time he spends in
prison.
AIDS Warrior
Robert Hilferty
Dies
Robert Hilferty, an AIDS activ-
ist, filmmaker, and arts critic born
in 1959, died on July 24. In an
email message, his lover, Fabio
Toblini, wrote that Hilferty had
suffered a head injury earlier this
year, the symptoms of which wors-
ened recently, and hastily decided
to end his suffering in a moment of
extreme anxiety.”
AIDS activist Peter Staley, writ-
ing on his POZ blog, recalled that
as a filmmaker, Hilferty “captured
some of ACT UP’s most memorable
moments, including the action we
worked on together putting a giant
condom over Jesse Helms’ house.”
His documentary about the famous
ACT UP demonstration at Manhat-
tan’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, “Stop
the Church,” was pulled at the
last minute from the Public Broad-
cast System’s P.O.V. series, though
some local affiliates aired the film
to protest the parent corporation’s
decision.
Staley, who was Hilferty’s boy-
friend in the late 1980s, recalled,” I
᭤ BRIEFS, continued on p.13
6 - 19
AUG
2009
Queens Rallies for Trans Survivors
150 turn out to say LGBT community will not be silent in face of violence
Crime /5
BY ANDY HUMM
T
he recent beatings of two
transgendered women
in Queens led about 150
people to rally in solidarity with
them in the midday sun July
26 on 37th Avenue in Jackson
Heights. Demonstrators called
for action in New York City and
in Albany on pending measures
and policies to enhance protec-
tions on the basis of gender iden-
tity and expression. But the main
purpose seemed to be to express
commitment not to be silent in
the face of such attacks and to
show the larger community that
these survivors are valued.
Leslie Mora, 30, attacked by
two men in Jackson Heights on
June 19, and Carmella Etienne,
22, assaulted by two other men
on July 8 in St. Albans, were not
on hand. Suspects have been
arrested and released on bail in
both cases, but only Etienne’s has
been classified as a hate crime,
despite appeals from activists to
District Attorney Richard Brown
to do the same in the attack on
Mora, whose attackers called her
“maricon” and “puto,” Spanish
slang for “faggot.” The Queens DA
is reviewing the facts.
The rally, organized primar-
ily by transgender political leader
Melissa Sklarz and gay activist
Brendan Fay, both of Queens,
called for passage of the Gender
Expression Non-Discrimination
Act (GENDA) by the State Sen-
ate along with the Dignity for All
Students Act (DASA), a school
anti-bullying bill that is inclusive
of protections for transgendered
youth. There were also calls for
Police Commissioner Raymond
Kelly to accept a proposed update
to the patrol guide on interacting
with people of transgender expe-
rience and for Mayor Michael
Bloomberg to fully implement the
City’s Dignity in All Schools Act
to end bullying in the schools,
passed years ago over his veto.
The Queens LGBT movement
was catalyzed by the anti-gay
murders of Julio Rivera in 1990
and Edgar Garzon in 2001, two
names invoked in a speech by
Democratic district leader Daniel
Dromm, a candidate for his par-
ty’s nomination for City Council
in Jackson Heights’ 25th District.
Even though the Queens pride
parade goes right down these
streets, Dromm told Gay City
News, “If I had a partner, I don’t
know that I’d hold hands walking
down the street.” He said more
police foot patrols are needed
in the area, but that the current
model of policing doesn’t allow for
that.
Out bisexual Democratic
Assemblyman Micah Kellner, the
only legislator on hand besides
Queens Councilman Eric Gioia
(a Democratic city public advo-
cate hopeful), came from Man-
hattan where a rash of anti-gay
attacks occurred in June in his
Upper East Side district. “Hate
crimes are not just an attack on
an individual,” Kellner said, “but
are meant to scare all of us back
into the closet.” He also said that
“by not passing GENDA,” which
the Assembly already has but the
Senate has not, “we are sanction-
ing hate.”
Robert Pinter of the Campaign
to Stop the False Arrests, whose
conviction in a rogue police sting
that set up gay men the NYPD
claimed were prostitutes was
recently overturned after he
came forward to fight the charg-
es, said of the women in these
cases, “I thank you and applaud
you for standing up publicly…
We must hold police account-
able for misconduct. We applaud
the police work that led to these
arrests.”
Mora’s friend Samara Ribiera
attended the rally and told Gay
City News, “She’s doing very well.
She’s physically healed. But men-
tally there will always be scars.”
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Melissa Sklarz, Brendan Fay, and the Rainbow Heights Club’s June Brown at the July 26 Jackson
Heights rally.
G
A
Y
C
IY
T
N
E
W
S
6 - 19
AUG
2009
6/ Poltics
The Agenda Drives John Liu
Outspoken Queens councilman aims at city comptroller post
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
“I
see shareholder activism
as one of the fundamen-
tal roles of the comp-
troller’s office,” said John Liu,
responding to a question about
New York City’s leadership role,
dating back nearly two decades,
in pressing corporations in
which its pension funds have
stock holdings toward work-
place fairness for LGBT employ-
ees. “I don’t see the comptroller
as a bureaucratic position. It
absolutely can be and should
be an office as agent of change.
I respect previous comptrollers
for what they have done, but
when it comes to shareholder
activism I expect to shatter all
the records.”
Change is a theme that Liu,
who is running in the September
15 Democratic primary for city
comptroller, talks about a lot. In
an interview with Gay City News
at the end of June, the two-term
member of the City Council,
representing the 20th District in
Queens, centered on Flushing,
explained that maximizing the
role of the comptroller’s office in
shaping a positive role for city
government in the lives of New
Yorkers is what motivates him
in public service.
“I am not running for comp-
troller simply to manage pen-
sion funds or to audit city agen-
cies,” he said. “I could do that
in the private sector and make
a shitload more money. I am
doing this to effectuate change,
whether it be corporate practic-
es at the national level or chang-
es in the ways agencies serve
the people in New York City.”
Liu then talked about some-
thing that politicians, particu-
larly ones vying for a post where
financial probity and efficiency
are traditionally seen as the
cardinal virtues, are sometimes
loathe to get into — the “agen-
da” he brings to his pursuit.
“I would work to improve the
process with a political agenda,”
he said. “I am not running for
office without a political agenda.
My political agenda is to ensure
that the limited city budget is
being used as effectively as pos-
sible to serve the people of New
York.”
With an agenda comes ambi-
tion. Dating back to 2005, Liu
has been set on seeking citywide
office this year. Though his pas-
sion has always been aimed at
the comptroller’s office, last fall
when term limits were thrown
out and the incumbent, Wil-
liam C. Thompson, Jr., had the
opportunity to seek four more
years in that job, Liu’s consid-
ered the possibility of instead
running for public advocate, an
office that would definitely be
open. Thompson’s decision to
instead run for mayor put Liu,
an actuary by profession, back
on course to seek the comptrol-
ler job.
In seven and a half years on
the Council, Liu has not been
shy about advocating poli-
cies and positions at odds with
the leadership, often with his
jaw out, vulnerable to coun-
ter-punches. Over the past 18
months, he has been particu-
larly outspoken in criticizing
Speaker Christine Queen, the
out lesbian Chelsea Democrat,
over her handling of the term
limits extension issue and the
slush fund scandal. On term
limits, he described the Coun-
cil’s move to legislatively override
two voter referenda mandating
no more than two terms as “a
change I vociferously opposed
and to this day castigate anyone
involved” with.
When Quinn faced an out-
cry over a pot of several million
dollars set aside by the Council
each year purportedly for a list
of organizations that turned out
to be fictitious, she scrambled
to offer reform of the entire $50
million that the Council appro-
priates annually in member-
requested earmarks. Liu believes
the speaker made her colleagues
the fall guys for the admittedly
inexcusable practice of creating
dummy recipients, despite the
fact that the bulk of such ear-
marks are targeted for bona fide
social service agencies through
no-bid contracts for legitimate
but narrowly tailored public
purposes. In a city budget of
nearly $60 billion, the earmarks
make up a minimal appropria-
tion, even when compared to the
much larger scope of no-bid con-
tracts handled through the exec-
utive branch. Quinn’s handling
of the controversy amounted to
“just essentially blame your own
colleagues,” Liu charged.
The Queens councilman’s
opposition was not without con-
sequences. “I tried to work with
the speaker or the leadership or
the mayor,” Liu said. “If at some
point it’s not working, you have
to agree to disagree. And for the
last couple of years, that has
been the MO between the speak-
er and myself.” Still, he insisted,
his effectiveness on the Council
has not been compromised. “My
legislation has moved forward,”
he said. “I haven’t felt any chang-
es in my role in the budget pro-
cess.”
Being on the outs would
seem a not unfamiliar role for
Liu. “It would be fair to say that
my background is one of being
excluded, whether blatantly or
de facto,” he said. “It has always
been a feeling of exclusion, exclu-
sion from the process, exclusion
from the fruits.” Liu was the first
Asian American in New York City
elected to any legislative post,
at the city or state level. “I can
remember when I was a kid not
being able to breath for two min-
utes because someone punched
me in the stomach and yelled
epithets at me while he did it,” he
said, adding that being singled
out as “different” also extended
“to kinder gestures when, in fifth
grade, my entire class, whenever
they served rice at a hot lunch,
would pass me their rice because
they were helping me, they were
doing me a favor.”
Liu’s family came to Flush-
ing from Taiwan in 1972, when
his father, who worked in a bank
there and earned an MBA in the
US, decided “he wanted to raise
his sons as Americans.” Unable
to get a job at an American bank,
his father found clerical work at
a Japanese bank, based on his
ability to speak that language, but
earned far less than his experi-
ence warranted. His mother went
to work at a needle trades sweat-
shop in Queens that employed
about 200 for 12 years to supple-
ment the family’s income, and
beginning at age seven Liu him-
self worked there, pulling thread
from large spools to make smaller
balls easier for the seamstresses
to handle. At five cents a ball, in a
good hour he would earn a dollar.
Three or four years later, he took
a paper route that paid him three
times that.
Those experiences shaped
Liu’s political perspectives, he
said. “That’s why I often have
a predilection toward people
who come to my office because
nobody else is listening or they
have nowhere else to go,” he
said. “And that’s not only true
for Asian Americans, it has sim-
ilarly been for LGBT community
members, for Arabs and Mus-
lims, for the growing Russian
community.”
Liu’s support of the LGBT
community — he has been a
longtime backer of marriage
equality and is critical of Mayor
Michael Bloomberg’s “failure to
address the problem” of anti-
gay bullying in schools — has
been reciprocated in this year’s
race. In a four-way primary
race, Liu has captured five of
six big gay prizes —endorse-
ments by the Stonewall Dem-
ocrats, Brooklyn’ s Lambda
Independent Democrats, the
Lesbian and Gay Democratic
Club of Queens, the Jim Owles
Liberal Democratic Club, and
the Out People of Color Politi-
cal Action Club. Only the Gay
and Lesbi an I ndependent
Democrats, where Quinn has
been a longtime leader, made
a different choice — going with
Brooklyn Councilman David
Yassky. Liu would not specu-
late on whether the speaker’s
history with the club had any-
thing with that, but said, “I
wanted to campaign, I wanted
to contact members, but I was
told by multiple sources that
for whatever reason there was
no way I was going to get that
endorsement.” He is also sup-
ported by two out LGBT elected
officials, Assemblyman Micah
Kellner and Councilwoman
Rosie Mendez, both Manhattan
Democrats.
In discussing his ties to the
LGBT community, Liu offered
an interesting assessment of
the political parallels between
gays and Asian Americans.
“As many struggles as the
LGBT community has gone
through, as an Asian Ameri-
can I often look to learn from
those struggles because, in
many ways, when it comes to
gaining a voice, I still feel that
the Asian-American commu-
nity is behind the LGBT curve.
Asian Americans, we still want
to be accepted and included.
We’re still looking to dispel this
whole perpetual foreigner syn-
drome… As an Asian Ameri-
can, I know what it’s like to be
excluded from the process and
from the results, and that’s
why the struggles of the LGBT
community are struggles I
identify with.”
Councilman John Liu speaking to Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union
(SEIU), whose endorsement he has won.
6 - 19
AUG
2009
14 DAYS
14 NIGHTS
David Yassky’s War on Waste
Brooklynite says accountability serves progressive ideals
Politics /7
BY PAUL SCHINDLER
“M
y mission has been
to try to be a 21st
century progres-
sive,” said David Yassky, a two-
term member of the City Coun-
cil representing a wide swath
of Brooklyn, from Greenpoint
to Park Slope. “What I mean by
that is that I believe very strong-
ly in the traditional progressive
values of government.” As the
world economy was spiraling
downward late last year, in an
interview with Gay City News,
he elaborated, “We can’t just let
the market go crazy; we need to
build a community and not just
let the powerful dominate.”
Then turning to a core mes-
sage in his campaign to win
the September 15 Democratic
primary for city comptroller,
Yassky said, “Where we some-
times fall short is that we are
too attached to the status quo,
because that’s what we know,
not being willing to innovate, not
insisting on accountability and
results, and that’s what I want
to bring to the table. Innovation,
accountability, and results. I
think that progressives should
care about those values more
than anybody, because if you
really believe in government,
you believe in doing it right. For
progressives, it really is a sin
when the government wastes a
million dollars, because there’s
so much we want to do and we
could be doing.”
To underscore that last point,
Yassky recalled that he started
his career working in the city
budget office during former
Mayor Ed Koch’s administra-
tion. He said it was a time when
New York was first confronted
with the outbreak of drug-
resistant tuberculosis, an ill-
ness that had particularly dire
consequences for New Yorkers
living with HIV. Wasting money,
Yassky was emphasizing, stands
in the way of addressing critical
life and death issues.
And waste is a huge issue, he
argued. “Anybody who doesn’t
think there are a lot of contrac-
tors that really rip off the city
and taxpayers — I mean, they’re
just not living in the real world,”
he said. The example that came
to his mind at that moment was
an $80 million computer sys-
tem for the Department of Edu-
cation; no principal or teacher
at any of the many schools he’s
visited, Yassky said, “feels that
they can use it, put it to good
use.”
Yassky’s focus on waste —
and particularly that emanat-
ing from the city contracting
process — prompted him to
stand with Speaker Christine
Quinn, the out lesbian leader
of the Council from Chelsea, as
she struggled early last year to
handle the fallout from a scan-
dal over a slush fund of several
million dollars a year hidden in
a bogus list of fictitious social
service contractors. Seeking to
staunch the negative public-
ity that had mushroomed, the
speaker announced reforms
regarding a far larger pool of
money — roughly $50 million
— that traditionally was ear-
marked for projects suggested
by individual Council members.
A good number of Quinn’s col-
leagues were openly critical of
the reforms she proposed, say-
ing that they challenged their
prerogatives to identify worthy
projects too small or specialized
to warrant a competitive bid-
ding process — and, perhaps as
importantly, that they seemed
to spread the blame for a failure
by Council leadership across
the entire body.
Yassky was not among those
critics. He said he sees only “a
very limited role for earmarks”
in the Council budget — for
very small efforts the members
know very well, such as local lit-
tle leagues. “Designating social
service providers is much bet-
ter handled through competi-
tive bids,” he said. “The reason
Speaker Quinn’s reform pro-
posals got so much resistance
from Council members is that
they kind of lumped together
the question of should politi-
cians designate which groups
get money with the question
should the Council be able to
set budget priorities. The Coun-
cil absolutely should have a
greater role in deciding whether
the money should go for AIDS
prevention or for street clean-
ing.” Then, comparing the size
of the Council-directed earmark
pool to the total city budget, he
said, “You get $50 million out
of $59 billion. I think that’s the
Council being played for chump
change,” and added, “Quinn got
more blame than she deserved”
in the slush fund episode.
“Speaker Quinn’s commitment
to reform is very real,” he said.
“Her earmark rules would have
improved the situation, but they
were watered down consider-
ably.”
That said, Yassky believes
that the Council could profit
from a greater dispersion of
power amongst its 51 members.
Under the City Charter, the
mayor already wields outsized
authority relative to the Coun-
cil, and with the resources of the
city bureaucracy at his disposal,
it is difficult for the legislative
branch to compete in budget
negotiations. A speaker, Quinn
or anyone else, may feel they
have more power if they go into
discussions with the admin-
istration with a relatively free
hand, unfettered by other power
sources within the Council, but
Yassky argued that the oppo-
site is true. Right now, he said,
the mayor essentially only has
to negotiate with one person as
opposed to 51. Yassky endorsed
a stronger committee structure,
in which appropriations for
functional areas could be stud-
ied for several weeks — “rather
than the last couple of hours
before the vote” — in advance of
a budget being adopted. He lik-
ened that process to what goes
on in Congress, and said, “Being
speaker of a strong Council is
better for the speaker.”
Having spent nearly eight
years on the Council, Yassky,
who in 2006 ran unsuccessfully
for the Brooklyn congressional
seat won by Yvette Clarke, sees
the comptroller’s office as a plat-
form to effect the sorts of chang-
es he thinks the city needs. For
three years, he said, he worked
to get 20 percent set-asides for
affordable housing established
upfront as a requirement in
rezoning approvals. After “get-
ting rolled in Park Slope” in that
᭤ AUG 7, continued on p.8
᭤ 14 DAYS, from p.2
FRI.AUG.7
COMMUNITY
A Black LGBT
Celebration
Pride In the City is a celebration for
the lives and culture of black lesbian,
gay, transgender, bisexual, and game
gender-loving individuals, this year
hosted by National AIDS Education
& Services for Minorities, Inc., a non-
profit community-based organization
that began its work in Atlanta in 1990.
This year’s events include: an opening
red carpet reception at Langston,
1073 Atlantic Ave. at Franklin Ave.,
Aug. 7, 7-11 p.m.; the official Pride in
the City Party, Secrets, 525 W. 29th
St., Aug. 7, 11 p.m.-4 a.m.; Family
Day in the Park, Prospect Park near
Bartel-Pritchard Circle, Prospect
Park W. at 15th St., Park Slope, Aug.
8, 1-7:30 p.m.; and the annual surf party
at Jacob Riis Beach, at Gateway
National Recreation Area, Rock-
away, Queens, Aug. 9 The Family Day
in the Park includes lunch, DJ, dancing,
poets, book readings, vendors, and rapid
HIV tests. For complete information, visit
naesmonline.org/.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
AT THE BEACH
Fire Island Black
Out
FIBO is a weekend of beach fun for
LGBT people of color and their friends
in Fire Island’s Cherry Grove. An open-
ing evening cocktail reception will be
held Aug. 7, 8-11 a.m. at the Hilton
Garden Inn at Islip’s MacArthur
Airport. Admission is $10; $5 with a
FIBO bracelet that costs $20, but enti-
tles wearers to discounts throughout
the weekend. A portion of proceeds of
bracelet sales for the Garden Inn recep-
tion will benefit the Ali Forney Center,
which provides housing and social ser-
vices to LGBT homeless youth in New
York City. On Aug. 8, from 10 a.m.-8
p.m., there will be a beach party
that will include everything from vol-
leyball to a poetry slam by the ocean.
There is also free admission to the
Cherry Grove Hotel’s pool all day with
a FIBO bracelet. From 8 p.m.-4 a.m.,
a bump & dip dance party will be
held at the Ice Palace, with DJ Fred
Pierce. Admission is free with a FIBO
bracelet. On Aug. 9, another day at
A Brooklyn councilman for eight years, David Yassky hopes the comptroller’s platform can ampli-
fy his voice.
᭤ YASSKY, continued on p.18
“Innovation, accountability, and
results. I think that progressives
should care about those values.”
6 - 19
AUG
2009
14 DAYS
14 NIGHTS
8/ Crime
against LGBT people. The Shas
Party, an ultra Orthodox party
which is a leading member of
the governing coalition, is noto-
rious in its agitation against the
rights and lives of LGBT people.
The chair of Shas, Deputy
Prime Minister Eli Yishai, has
a long history of anti-LGBT
hatred, including his repeated
statement that “gays and les-
bians are sick people.” He has
even compared the annual
Jerusalem pride parade with a
terror attack. Such outspoken
hatred by a cabinet member
would no longer be tolerated
by even the most conservative
president of the United States.
Certainly until the recent
shootings, we had come to
accept that the two Israels could
live together in détente — the
détente that civilized democra-
cies require among potentially
conflicting segments of their
societies. Eli Yishai would prac-
tice his homophobia while the
LGBT community would enjoy
ever-growing acceptance by the
majority of the population.
No place portrays Israel’s
duality more intensely than the
Knesset, the country’s parlia-
ment, where very progressive
and homophobic members sit
side by side. In June, the Knes-
set’s only openly gay member,
Nitzan Horowitz of the left-wing
party Meretz, initiated a spe-
cial gathering in the Knesset to
mark Pride Month. The leader
of the opposition, Kadima chair
Tzipi Livni, attended the meet-
ing. So did Reuven Rivlin, the
speaker of the house, from the
ruling Likud Party, normal-
ly considered right of center.
After the shooting, Prime Min-
ister Benjamin Netanyahu of
Likud was quick to condemn
the killing, portraying Israel as
“a country built on tolerance
[where] we must respect all peo-
ple as they are.” Tzipi Livni and
the education minister, Gideon
Saar of Likud, went one step
further by explicitly condemn-
ing homophobia and expressing
support of the LGBT communi-
ty. Israel’s mainstream leaders
— on the left, in the center, and
even on the non-reactionary
right — were in agreement. If all
of Israel does not yet embrace
the LGBT community, certainly
no part of Israel can be engaged
in incitement.
However, it still remains to
be seen whether Yishai and his
friends will think twice in the
future before using homopho-
bia as a means to recruit popu-
lar support. And it will be espe-
cially interesting to witness the
reaction of mainstream politi-
cians, such as the prime min-
ister, to homophobic expres-
sions.
One lesson from last Sat-
urday’s shooting is that the
days of complacency are over.
The Israeli LGBT community
is strong — and getting stron-
ger — and we must use our
power to demand clearly that
homophobia should not be a
legitimate part of the public
debate. If mainstream politi-
cians will not tolerate incite-
ment against LGBT people from
their colleagues in the Knesset
and the cabinet, then Israel will
come to embrace that lesson in
the aftermath of tragedy, and
the entire nation will become
an exemplar of LGBT rights.
Yoav Sivan (yoavsivan.com)
is a journalist and human rights
activist from Tel Aviv. He was
a former board member of the
Aguda, the Israeli GLBT Asso-
ciation, as well as the Jerusa-
lem Open House. He currently
attends Columbia University’s
Graduate School of Journalism.
᭤ AUG 8, continued on p.12
᭤ AUG 7, from p.7
the beach will be followed by a
sunset lounge party at the Tides
Bar from 8 p.m.-midnight; free with
a FIBO bracelet; $5 otherwise. For com-
plete information, visit fireislandblack-
out.com.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
Because of the
Wonderful Things
He Does
Bianca Del Rio will be typecast as
the Wicked Witch and Violet Temper
as Glinda in a “Wizard of Oz”-themed
underwear extravaganza at the Ice Pal-
ace in Fire Island’s Cherry Grove.
Go-go grease monkeys will be dancing
all night on the bar. Who will Dorothy
be? That’s a surprise. Music is by DJ
Aaron Elvis, with a 1a.m. performance
by Fritz Helder and the Phantoms.
More than 75 pairs of underwear will be
given away by Freshpair.com. Admission
is $10.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
SAT.AUG.8
AT THE BEACH
Grand Sands Day
for Trans
The LGBT Community Center’s Gen-
der Identity Project hosts its annual
Trans on the Sands event, a day at
the beach for transgender and gender
non-conforming people, their families,
friends, and allies. Coney Island,
noon-5 p.m. For complete details and to
RSVP, check out the Trans on the Sands
page on Facebook.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
GALLERY
Mom & POP
Artist Olan Montgomery releases
the first bound collection of his work in
a pocket-sized, hardcover coffee table
book, “POP-Art inspired by New York’s
own subcultures from celebrity to sub-
way.” Olan’s work takes digital-based art
to a thrilling new level, combining fine
art photography and hand painting, along
with poetry and famous art quotes. The
bound collection examines and shines
a neon glow stick on New York’s hidden
subcultures, including the city’s home-
less, its colorful nightlife personalities,
and its bold gay icons. Select art from the
book as well as work by his mother, art-
ist Eslye Moore, is on exhibit in a show
᭤ TEL AVIV, from p.1
Attendees at an August 5 vigil for the Tel Aviv shooting victims at New York’s Congregation Beth-
Simchat Torah, an LGBT congregation in the West Village.
W
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One day after a masked gunman opened fire at an
LGBT youth center in Tel Aviv, killing two and wound-
ing 13 others, hundreds of Israeli police were combing
nearby streets in an effort to track down the murderer.
Ynetnews.com identified the two killed as Nir Katz, a
26-year-old counselor at the club, and Liz Trubeshi, alter-
nately reported as 17 or 16. The August 1 attack targeted
a weekly event held for LGBT teens in a club in the base-
ment of Aguda, the GLBT Association, which offers coun-
seling and a place to gather and socialize for youth, many
of whom have not yet come out.
Tel Aviv is widely considered a more cosmopolitan
city than Jerusalem, with a large and vibrant LGBT com-
munity. Reuters quoted Avi Sofer, a gay activist, saying,
“The biggest shock is to think that it happened in Tel Aviv,
which is the most tolerant city in the country.”
Four of the 13 taken to the hospital were described as
having serious injuries. The Israeli media was full of pic-
tures showing the blood-stained aftermath of the attack,
and witnesses described an horrific scene, with bodies
strewn on the floor surrounding a billiards table. Police
are keeping a tight lid on details of their investigation,
concerned that it could be compromised by leaks.
Within hours of the attack, Prime Minister Benja-
min Netanyahu said of the killer, “We’ll bring him to
justice and exercise the full extent of the law against
him.” President Shimon Peres described the shootings
as “despicable murder” that “a cultured and enlight-
ened people cannot accept.” Nitzan Horowitz, the only
openly gay member of the Knesset, described the kill-
ings as a “hate crime,” and said, “We demand that the
government put an end to this hate campaign and that
the Education Ministry institute proper information and
education at schools in order to prevent the recurrence
of such shameful events.” Israelis by the hundreds and
thousands took to the streets, in Tel Aviv and else-
where, on both Saturday and Sunday, to voice their out-
rage over the shootings.
Israel’s chief rabbis also condemned the attack. But
the Associated Press quoted Mike Hamel of Aguda,
which sponsors the youth center, as blaming religious
extremists for the killings. “Beyond the pain, the frustra-
tion, and the anger, we are facing a situation in which the
incitement to hate creates an environment that allows
this to happen,” Hamel said.
In recent years, gay pride celebrations in Israel have
faced hostile responses from Ultra-Orthodox Jews, who
take to the streets to voice their opposition to shows
of LGBT visibility. In 2005, one ultra-Orthodox anti-gay
protester stabbed three marchers in a Jerusalem gay
pride parade, and last year a Knesset member from the
ultra-Orthodox Shas Party said earthquakes were God’s
punishment for Israel’s tolerance of the gay and lesbian
community. Shas Party leaders on August 2 condemned
the attacks.
Rona Keinan, a songwriter and LGBT activist, said
of the club that youth “go there because it is a refuge
of sorts for them.” In the daily Yediot Ahronot, Keinan
wrote, “The very thought that a person might enter that
protected space and simply open fire at them is shocking.
I just want to cry.”
According to Ynetnews, Nir Katz’s stepfather said of
the 26-year-old youth counselor, “He believed in his own
way, lived with a boyfriend for years. His goal was to help
people who were struggling and who were still in the
closet. He considered it a mission.”
Liz Trubeshi’s family was described as “closed off
in their home.” “We are hurting and are having a hard
time,” Trubeshi’s aunt Cindy said, according to Ynet-
news. “It’s hard to talk about it.” An unidentified friend
of Trubeshi’s was quoted saying, “She was very quiet in
class. A closed-off and introverted person. I don’t know
what to say, she didn’t even turn 17. She didn’t talk about
her sexual orientation but was very open on the gay-les-
bian issue.” — Paul Schindler
ANTI-GAY MURDERS ROCK TEL AVIV
WWW.GAYCITYNEWS.COM
9
6 – 19 AUG 2009
■ LEGAL
Lesbian Partner
Adoption Upheld
Maine Supreme Court keeps alive battle over
Thomas J. Watson, Jr., fortune
BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
The Maine Supreme Judicial Court
ruled on July 23 that the adoption of
Patricia Spado by her then-partner,
Olive Watson, in 1991 was valid. The
decision reversed a Probate Court ruling
that had threatened to derail Spado’s
attempt to claim a portion of the trust
established by Thomas J. Watson, Jr.,
the son of IBM’s founder who himself
ran IBM from 1952 until 1971. Spado
and Watson, a couple for many years,
spent several weeks in Maine each
summer in a house Watson, Thomas
Jr.’s daughter, owned. Aiming to pro-
tect Spado legally — Watson at that
time was taking flying lessons — they
consulted an attorney about the pos-
sibility of adoption, and were advised
that under Maine law, there was no
bar to a same-sex adult adoption. The
couple’s time in the house there each
summer, they were told, was sufficient
to give the local Probate Court juris-
diction, since that would qualify Spado
as “living” in the state. By contrast,
the lawyer advised, Watson could
not adopt Spado in New York, where
they resided on Long Island, because
the Court of Appeals here, the state’s
highest bench, had already specifi-
cally ruled against adoptions for adult
same-sex partners.
The adoption was granted, but the
couple split up a year later. The sub-
sequent deaths of Thomas J. Watson,
Jr., and his wife set in motion the fam-
ily trust’s division among the couple’s
grandchildren. Since Olive’s adoption
of Spado had never been dissolved,
Patricia applied to the Connecticut-
based trust as a legal grandchild of the
Watsons to receive a share of the funds.
The trustees rejected Spado’s claim, on
the grounds that the Watsons had not
contemplated that she was their grand-
daughter. Spado sued the trustees in
Connecticut court, and the trustees in
turn filed a lawsuit in the Maine Pro-
bate Court seeking to have the adoption
declared invalid, arguing that Spado
and Watson had defrauded the court by
representing that Patricia lived in the
state (even as they acknowledged that
Olive resided in New York).
The Maine adoption law at the time
Watson adopted Spado required that
either the adopting party be a resident
of Maine, or the prospective adoptee
“live” there. The probate judge hearing
the trustees’ suit decided that occupy-
ing the summer house for three weeks
did not equate to “living” in Maine,
reasoning there was really no distinc-
tion between the words “reside” and
“live,” and “reside” implies certain
attachments to a jurisdiction, such as
owning property, spending substantial
time “in residence,” registering to vote,
or obtaining a driver’s license. The
probate judge ordered the adoption
voided on grounds of fraud.
In unanimously reversing this rul-
ing, the Supreme Judicial Court,
Maine’s highest bench, found that
when the Legislature uses two dif-
ferent words, it intends two different
meanings. “Reside” is a legal term of
art, and nobody claimed that Spado
resided in Maine at the time of the
adoption. “Live” is not a legal term of
art and is not defined in the statute.
The court noted that most adoptions
involve adults adopting children, and
children, especially very young chil-
dren, would not be capable of taking
steps to establish residence in any
particular state, so the Legislature
used a different term, “live,” to suggest
the place where the prospective adop-
tee was staying when the petition was
filed. The court found no fraud — Spado
and Watson had sought legal advice about
whether the Maine adoption law would
cover their situation, and acted accord-
ingly.
The Watson trustees also argued that
recognizing this adoption would violate
Maine’s public policy, since Watson and
᭤ ADOPTION, continued on p.19
The court pointed out that the Maine statute
unequivocally allowed adult adoptions.
$1.95
EACH
6 - 19
AUG
2009
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10/ Perspective
■ A DYKE ABROAD
Rethinking Outrage
BY KELLY JEAN COGSWELL
T
errible, the queer kids
shot in Tel Aviv, terrible
the lesbians raped and
slaughtered in South Africa.
Then there are the bashings
and murders in the States.
Terrible. We need more laws,
more resolutions, more vigils
and marches, more politicians
on our side, more media, more
verbage to step over on the
way to work in the morning
before the super sweeps it off
the curb.
More and more I wonder
where it gets us, that hor -
ror at sudden, deadly explo-
sions of hate. The deaths we
respond to are particularly
dramatic, but unfortunately
not rare. We remember the
death of Mathew Shepard
crucified to a fence post in
Wyoming, not all the other
queers dropped in back alleys
with a blow to the head.
If we really paid attention,
we’d be horrified every day.
We’ d be on the street rant-
ing in sackcloth and ashes at
the suffering so many of us
are exposed to. Maybe we’d
even go beyond the anger to
action.
These days, I watch our
queer communi t y’ s bri ef
moments of outrage wi th
increasing fatigue and grief.
Activists haven’t found a way
to harness that energy, and
i t usual l y doesn’ t achi eve
much. Folks get out on the
street for one march, send
an email to support a draft of
one law that certainly won’t
put an end to deadl y out-
bursts of anti-gay hate. For
that, we need sustained and
radical work to address two
separate problems — violence
and homophobi a — whi ch
have taproots sunk so deep in
our cultures it will take more
than a bulldozer of a move-
ment to rip them out.
And there’ re no signs we
want to. How many queers
argue open-mindedly for the
right of women to wear bur-
khas, rally around the little
crosses and stars, support
religion under the guise of
religious and cultural free-
dom? We are complicit in giv-
ing preachers the keys to the
state houses and schools,
as if the arguments against
queers weren’t almost always
moral ones, casti ng us as
too unclean to be equal as
humans or ci ti zens. As i f
these moral arguments didn’t
sentence our bullied queer
children to years of hell. As if
they weren’t in part respon-
sible for the deaths of two
young queers in Tel Aviv.
Only a revolution will save
us. A real one. Things turned
on t hei r heads and kept
there. We haven’t seen many
real revol ut i ons. Usual l y
there’s some roulette motion
where you end up like Cuba
back at square one, or zero,
because the human capac-
ity for transcendence lasts, if
you’re lucky, about as long as
a post-six-pack piss.
We can only hope for floods
and earthquakes. Great event
changers. Conversi ons. I
suppose you could wish for
a sudden explosion of Bud-
dhists and Quakers who are
at least nonviolent, though
Jesus himself warned new
wine bursts old wine skins.
Better to try something alto-
gether different. Maybe intro-
duce Val i um i nto the tap
water of our cities. Or instead
of urging our citizens to eat
more fruits and vegetables,
pl y them wi th more sugar
and starches, reducing them
into semi-permanent insulin
shock, too weak to lift a vio-
lent hand.
Failing a revolution, we can
only go at things piecemeal as
usual. A law here, a commu-
nity center there. Education is
useful in moderation to spur
acti vi sm. Learn too much
about the world, you can be
crushed under the weight of
all its bigots and idiots. What
are the odds we can reach
them all?
Ten to one you say, offer-
ing the magic percentage of
queers in the world.
It’s a point worth thinking
about. Maybe we’ve been going
at this social change stuf f
all wrong, trying to change
things in a global way, when
we should be thinking local.
Li ke i nsurgents, perhaps
we should act in small cells.
Have an expansive vision, but
stick to our limited territory of
families, neighbors, friends.
Like Jehovah’s Witnesses and
Mormons, we could go door
to door. “Have you ever met a
queer? No? Then today’s your
lucky day. Look. No tail, or
just a small one. No horns.
Any questions? Have a copy of
our sacred texts. A few poems
by Audre Lorde. James Bald-
win.”
We should do what is possi-
ble. Think of it. Our agents are
already in place in every fam-
ily and town. The problem is,
they are sleeping and the hat-
ers are awake. They are awake
and looking for a target. We
tell them with nods and winks
and sermons who they can
safely pick. We put the guns
or machetes in their hands.
Our periodic and verbose
catharses of outrage do little
more than reveal us to be a
Queer Nation of Rip Van Win-
kles who wake long enough to
express dismay at the world,
then fall back asleep. By our
silence, we recruit for the
wrong side.
Check out Kelly Sans Culotte
at http://kellyatlarge.blogspot.
com/.
WARY ABOUT
OBAMA
July 10, 2009
To the Editor:
While you are an excellent reporter and
a greater writer/ editor for a wonderful
newspaper, I really do not understand your
seemingly desperate contortions to defend
President Obama (“Some Perspective on
Washington,” by Paul Schindler, Jul 9-22).
I must say the excuses are getting to be
threadbare. Obama’s lack of action speaks
volumes. As does his latest misstep — his
nonsensical and vaguely insulting (to the
LGBT community) remarks to the pope last
week.
Candidate Obama made it very clear
that he is against gay marriage. So our
community has every right to be wary.
Additionally, while he promised to over-
turn the Defense of Marriage Act and
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the simple fact is
that presidents do not overturn legislation
— sitting congressional representatives
overturn legislation. Senator Obama made
no efforts to build a consensus or lay the
groundwork to overturn these laws while
in the Senate, and we don’t see him doing
that now. Another reason to be wary. Even
my straight friends have begun to express
buyer’s remorse. They are asking, “Where’s
the change. What is different now?”
The most effective tactic that the LGBT
community has tried thus far is closing the
gAyTM. And I hope the LGBT community
can unite enough to keep it closed until
there is action. After substantive action,
there should be praise (and relief).
Meanwhile, perhaps we can ask you to
tell us — and explain it to us like we are
five-year-olds — what you plan to do and
hope to achieve.
Mark Woodward
Upper East Side
WARIER OF
BLOOMBERG
July 1, 2009
To the Editor:
Michael Bloomberg’s transformation to
vocal supporter of the LGBT community is
a clear signal that, should he be re- elect-
ed, he won’t ditch the city mid-term to run
for president in 2012 (“Camps Emerging
In Mayor’s Race,” by Paul Schindler, Jun.
25-Jul. 8). His appealing of the 2005 mar-
■ LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
᭤ LETTERS, continued on p.18
The human capacity for
transcendence lasts, if you’re lucky,
about as long as a post-six-pack piss.
6 - 19
AUG
2009
Perspective /11
A
s one of the lead orga-
ni zers for the LGBT
c ommuni t y ’ s f i r s t
two marches on Washi ng-
ton — in 1979 and 1987 —
my ears perked up when I
heard there were plans for a
new one. I checked out David
Mixner’s website where the
“National Equality March”
was announced, ostensibly for
and by the LGBT community,
although the name of the event
was devoid of any such refer-
ence. The date was set, as was
an overarching statement of
purpose, but unlike the earlier
actions, there would be no spe-
cific demands. Despite rhetoric
invoking the “grassroots,” it
appears the leadership already
had been decided — Mixner,
and a few self-selected others.
The whole package was signed,
sealed, very neatly wrapped,
and then delivered to the LGBT
community as a fait accompli.
To date there have been four
national marches on Wash-
ington organized by the LGBT
community — in 1979, 1987,
1993, and 2000. The fi rst
three were great successes;
the fourth a fiasco marked
by a huge event-day rip-off of
participating small business
people, followed by bankrupt-
cy, lawsuits, and an FBI inves-
tigation — not to mention a
turnout a mere fraction of the
1987 and 1993 marches. By
no coincidence, the first three
were run democratically, with
grassroots involvement in deci-
sion-making and organizing;
the fourth — the grandiosely
named “Millennium March”
— had self-selected leadership
and a decision-making process
closed to the community.
Briefly, here’s how our first
three marches were organized
and structured. The primary
decision-making steering com-
mittee, national in scope, was
comprised of delegates elected
at regional meetings, assuring
representation from all parts
of the country while also man-
dating gender parity and inclu-
sion of people of color. National
organizations and spokespeo-
ple from unrepresented and
underrepresented constituen-
cies were added to make sure
just about everyone had a
seat at the table. The leader-
ship was in turn elected from
and by the steering committee.
This decision-making process
— admittedly contentious and
chaotic at times — won accep-
tance as fair and inclusive. The
ability to be both heard and
represented motivated peo-
ple from all over the country
to commit time, energy, and
resources to building these
marches — a factor at the very
heart of their success.
In each instance, when the
big day finally arrived, we rev-
eled in and were empowered
by our accomplishment. The
first three marches on Wash-
ington strengthened our move-
ment largely because they were
democratically-run grassroots
ef forts on a massive scale.
They have thus become mile-
stones in both our developing
self-awareness and our history
as a politically effective com-
munity. They have even served
as models for other movements
seeking social change. Some
traditions are worth fighting
for.
That’s not to say a future
march must be organi zed
exactly the same way in order
to succeed. We shoul d, of
course, take full advantage of
the many new social network-
ing technologies available to
connect us with each other.
But these technologies cannot
replace what is unique about
face-to-face meetings and old-
fashioned grassroots orga-
nizing — experiences crucial
to building and sustaining a
sense of community.
The importance of process
also becomes obvious when
considering the major issues:
To Have a March or Not:
The issue of resources and pri-
orities inevitably arises from
the ways in which a national
action affects local or state-
wide work. Under current eco-
nomic conditions, the matter of
resources, in the case of both
organizations and individuals,
is especially relevant.
And If So:
When to March: Three
months is a very brief lead-
time. Such short notice pre-
cludes a real grassroots effort
that, by nature, takes a while
to get off the ground, the Inter-
net notwithstanding. Some
would maintain that a march
should be held during the year
or so leading up to a presi-
dential election for maximum
impact.
What to Call It: The name
we give to our community,
which evolved over time to
become more inclusive, was
incorporated into the title given
to the first three marches; not
so for the fourth, and appar-
ently that will also not be the
case for this one. There are dif-
ferent viewpoints on this ques-
tion, but they have not been
debated.
What It’s For — the Politi-
cal Message: Focus can be lost
with too many demands, but
unlike the current endeavor,
usually a demonstration does
include a set of demands. Per-
haps a happy medium is best.
Some would argue that change
is more important than “equal-
ity” — that before demanding
an equal slice of the pie, one
should consider whether the
pie itself is rotten. True, Don’t
Ask, Don’t Tell is idiotic, but
what about the role played by
the US military? As for mar-
riage, some will point out that
its allocation of benefits based
on relationship status dis-
criminates against the unmar-
ried. If so, is extending access
to a prejudicial institution the
way to go? With HIV/ AIDS
and more, no one can deny
the unique and historic inter-
section between the needs of
the LGBT community and the
issue of health care. Is it not
possible, in fact, that a single-
payer health care system could
benefit far more members of
our community than all the
topical equality issues com-
bined? Doesn’t this discussion
merit open debate?
The Program: Who speaks
for and represents the com-
munity is always a hot topic —
and no small matter.
Related events: In previ-
ous instances, related events
were planned in addition to
the march and rally. Most fre-
quently, a lobbying effort was
included. But in conjunction
with the 1987 march, we orga-
nized a huge, empowering civil
disobedience action at the US
Supreme Court, protesting its
1986 Bowers v. Hardwick deci-
sion upholding the sodomy
laws of Georgia.
There’s a lot to mull over,
a lot to debate, and a lot to
decide. The issues raised here
are but a few possible exam-
ples, presented not as endorse-
ments, but as an indication
of how the current discus-
sion could easily proceed. One
thing is certain, however — the
discussion needs to proceed
openly, with decisions made
democratically. Differences
between the grassroots and
top-down models are evident
in their contrasting approach-
es to the inclusion of people of
color. With the former, repre-
sentatives are selected by and
from their communities and
are part of the decision-making
process of the entire effort from
the outset. With the latter, peo-
ple of color are selected by the
leadership — after major deci-
sions have already been made
— and are used to lend the
event and its planners a veneer
of credibility.
The experience of working
out the structure and put-
ting the marches together
served as a unique and indis-
pensable training ground for
many burgeoning activists and
movement veterans. The over-
whelming majority of those
who helped build these events
would undoubtedly concur
— arguing strenuously that a
new generation of LGBT activ-
ists should not be deprived of a
similar experience.
Organizers of the current
march may claim we’re at a crit-
ical moment and just don’t have
time to do it any other way. This
response won’t wash. In 1987,
the Supreme Court had recently
decided that our sexuality could
define us all as criminals; our
very existence was challenged.
Meanwhile, we were in the
depths of a devastating epidem-
ic with a president who wouldn’t
even utter the word AIDS. Yet,
we took no convenient or facile
shortcuts. Building a communi-
ty-wide mandate was too impor-
tant.
Coming up with an idea, pro-
moting it, and then testing it is
all well and good. Self-selecting
leadership for an event that pur-
ports to represent and speak
for an entire community is not.
A leadership style or process
that makes raising community
issues akin to petitioning Caesar
is simply not acceptable. Earlier
generations of LGBT activists
would not have tolerated this
power grab. We must make our
voices heard now.
Native New Yorker Steve Ault,
who can be reached at stgault@
earthlink.net, served as co-
coordinator of the first National
March on Washington for Les-
bian & Gay Rights in 1979, and
co-chair of the second in 1987.
He was a member of the Gay
Liberation Front and a found-
ing board member of the LGBT
Community Services Center of
New York City. For more infor-
mation about the LGBT commu-
nity’s marches on Washington,
check out “The Dividends of
Dissent,” a book by Amin Gha-
ziani, and visit newyorkslime.
com/ahc/. This discussion can
also be informed by an Inter-
net search on the “Great Peace
March for Global Nuclear Disar-
mament.”
Top-Down “National March for Equality” Won’t Wash
BY STEVE AULT
A leadership style or process
that makes raising community
issues akin to petitioning Caesar
is simply not acceptable.
■ OCTOBER IN DC
6 - 19
AUG
2009
14 DAYS
14 NIGHTS
12/ Sports
᭤ AUG 9, continued on p.15
᭤ AUG 8, from p.8
entitled “Mom & POP” at Ward-Nasse
Gallery, 178 Prince St., btwn. Sul-
livan & Thompson Sts, throughout
August, Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.; Sun., 1-6
p.m. A reception will be held tonight
at 7 p.m.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
Women Look At
Women
“The Female Gaze” is a group exhibi-
tion of women artists depicting the female
form. With this premise, the show pres-
ents a collection of works that reclaim the
traditional domination of the “male gaze”
and reorient the significance of the female
figure to allow for more varied interpre-
tations. A variety of mediums will be
shown —sculpture, photography, video,
painting, and installation — and sev-
eral different women artists represented,
including Berenice Abbott, Ghada Amer,
Diane Arbus, Vanessa Beecroft, Lynda
Benglis, Louise Bourgeois, Julia Margaret
Cameron, Victoria Civera, Rineke Dijk-
stra, Marlene Dumas, Anh Duong, Judith
Eisler, Tracey Emin, Ellen Gallagher, Nan
Goldin, Katy Grannan, Jenny Holzer, Roni
Horn, Chantal Joffe, Maria Lassnig, Zoe
Leonard, Sally Mann, Marilyn Minter,
Joan Mitchell, Alice Neel, Collier Schorr,
Joan Semmel, Cindy Sherman, Mickalene
Thomas, Kara Walker, Hannah van Bart,
Hellen van Meene, and Lisa Yuskavage.
Cheim & Read, 547 W. 25th St. Tue.-
Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. through Sep. 19.
212-242-7727 or cheimread.com.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
The Subjective Eye
The Leslie/ Lohman Gay Art Founda-
tion recommends “As We See It 2009,”
the fifth annual NYC Photo Club exhibition,
featuring stunning imagery, from erotic to
political, from pop art to politically incorrect,
from travel to portraiture, and everything in
between. LGBT Community Center, 208
W. 13th St. Through Sep. 3. To preview
the exhibition, visit nycphotoclub.com. All
sale proceeds benefit the Center.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
SUN.AUG.9
COMMUNITY
BBQ With the SAGE
Gals
SAGE, Services and Advocacy for
GLBT Elders, holds its annual Women’s
Barbeque, an afternoon of summer food
come to the events and be part
of them, whether they were gay
or not. We wanted to bring the
events to the people.” Registra-
tion itself was one of the clearest
examples of this — paperwork
was processed at the Tivoli Gar-
dens in Hans Christian Ander-
son Hall, one of the city’s most
iconic tourist sites, named for
Denmark’s most famous citizen,
a man whose ambiguous sexual-
ity has long been considered part
of the country’s gay history. The
liberal Danish welcome was even
offered by churches. Many were
ornamented with rainbow flags,
their clergy offering blessings of
same-sex couples.
Santa Fe native Michael Adee,
a human rights activist and
founder of the LGBT More Light
Presbyterian group, said, “It’s an
incredible experience to see how
open and offering the Christian
community in Copenhagen is.
I look forward to one day in the
US a city being this embracing
and open.”
The Opening Ceremony on
Saturday, July 25, in Town Hall
Plaza was a lively affair, with par-
ticipants lining up next to the
Town Hall, a massive brick and
granite, neo-Medieval structure,
with a clock tower rising from its
gabled roof. The atmosphere was
intensely festive, in spite of the
cool temperatures and looming
thunderclouds. Many of the ath-
letes waved their nation’s flags,
a global mix united by rainbow
flags glowing against the gray
sky. Celebrating with other Team
New Yorkers, Queens native
Jenna Borroughs, in Copenha-
gen to play Women’s Ice Hockey,
was doubly happy. “Today’s my
birthday,” she said. “I feel the
opening ceremony is for me, but
that’s the Leo in me talking.”
With an estimated contingent of
640 athletes, Americans are the
second largest group of partici-
pants at the Games, behind the
Danes.
More than 5,500 participants
from 98 countries paraded
through Town Hall Square,
smaller than 2006’s Montreal
Out Games, but still diverse,
with participants from Botswa-
na, Jamaica, Nepal, and many
other developing countries in
the mix. It was a strong visual
for what Lord Mayor Ritt Bjer-
regaard, in her speech, said was
part of the Out Games’ goals —
to be able to “to love whomever
we are in love with and to show
it openly.” She called on everyone
who attended to “leave the city as
true citizens of Copenhagen, that
means going by values of respect
of diversity and freedom.”
Shortly after she spoke, the
rain clouds burst, showering the
stage, but the show continued,
with circus acrobats like Anders
Astrup Jensen and others sus-
pended over the stage in ropes,
metal bars, and billowing white
sheets that fluttered like angel’s
wings. Two of the men, perform-
ing as a couple, held onto each
other’s powerfully sculpted mus-
cular bodies, hugging, and at
times kissing. Their act, all the
more precarious and dangerous
in the drenching rainfall, dem-
onstrating beautifully the experi-
ence of same-sex couples in the
real world — that in spite of all
the adversity thrown at them,
such love sustains itself.
Competitions are held across
34 sports categories, from ten-
nis, to yoga, to curling and swim-
ming. The swimming competi-
tion is the first sports event of
any kind held in Copenhagen’s
new Aqua Arena, Denmark’s
premiere aquatic sports com-
plex. Synchronized swimming
also highlighted the city’s trea-
sures, with a performance in
Copenhagen Harbor in front of
the city’s most famous site, the
bronze Little Mermaid.
New Yorker Nestor Lara-Bae-
za, attending to play beach vol-
leyball, was struck by the ease of
traveling in Copenhagen and the
camaraderie of the athletes. “It
took us a lot less time to go from
our hotel to the beach than it
would have taken us to go from
West Fourth to Central Park,” he
said. “We’ve run into a few other
volleyball players from some
of the gay volleyball circuits in
North America. I’ve never real-
ly hung out with so many gay
people at once and not had any
drama. I guess it’s the sports
that keeps us sane and occupied
enough to not get on each others’
nerves.”
There is much beyond sports
at the Out Games. The concur-
᭤ OUT GAMES, from p.1
Acrobatic acts mesmerized the crowds during the Opening Ceremony.
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Wrestlers on stage during the Opening Ceremony.
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Roni Epstein of SeaCliff Long Island and Jenna Borroughs of Queens, whose birthday coincided
with the Opening Ceremony, played Ice Hockey.
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WWW.GAYCITYNEWS.COM
13
6 – 19 AUG 2009
Like to Party with TINA?
The Substance Use Research Center
at Columbia University
seeks medically healthy Meth users between the ages of 21 and 45
to participate in a 10-session study evaluating stimulant effects.
You can earn up to $1,004.
For more information, please call: (212) 543-6013 or (212) 543-6545
ALL PERSONAL AND IDENTIFYING INFORMATION WILL BE KEPT CONFIDENTIAL
Weekly Sunday Services: 9 am (Traditional), 11 am (Celebration)
3 pm (Mandarin) and 7 pm (Praise & Worship)
11 am features ASL interpreter (1st, 2nd and 3rd Sunday of each month)
446 West 36th St. bet. 9th & 10th Ave. NY, NY 10018
212-629-7440 website: www.mccny.org email: info@mccny.org
Metropolitan Community Church of New York
The Reverend Pat Bumgardner, Pastor
Social
Service
Homeless
Youth
Services
and Sylvia Rivera
Food Pantry
Spiritual
Home
A church of lesbian,
gay, bisexual
and transgender
people. Open to all.
Advocating
Marriage Equality and
Transgender Rights
rent Human Rights Conference was the
largest gathering of gay leaders and poli-
ticians in the world, with more than 800
participants this year, some of whom are
also in Copenhagen as athletes. John
Ameachi, the famed openly gay basket-
ball player, gave the keynote speech on
July 27, bringing together the themes
of LGBT equality and sports. Other
LGBT leaders speaking included Vir-
ginia Apuzzo, a top White House official
in the Clinton administration, and Suni
Pant, Nepal’s first openly gay member of
Parliament. On July 29, Mariela Castro,
Cuban President Raul Castro’s daughter,
was scheduled to speak on gay rights in
the communist nation.
Cary Alan Johnson, the executive
director of the International Gay and
Lesbian Human Rights Commission
(IGLHRC), likes the Conference for the
access it gives him to so many activists in
one place. “We get to see who our lead-
ership is,” he said. “Meetings are held,
and relationships are solidified. It is
great for human rights groups to come
here and get work done.” Johnson
spoke about India’s decriminalization
of sodomy, saying the changes will have
a tremendous impact throughout other
former British colonies that had dis-
criminatory Empire-era laws imposed
on them that are still used against their
LGBT citizens. “The wind has been taken
out of their sails,” he said.
Culture was also a major component
of the Games with the Out Cities program
among the most visible projects. Water-
front street festivals full of art installa-
tions and music showed off the cultures
of Tel Aviv, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro,
and other cities. These were attended
by thousands, with gay athletes party-
ing with locals, LGBT and straight alike.
An LGBT Business Forum was also part
of the programming, along with the Gay
and Lesbian Film Festival and the Queer
Tango Festival, all of which contributed
to the sense there was something for
everyone at the Games, whether or not
they are athletes.
Still, violent homophobia raised its
ugly head in liberal Copenhagen. On July
25, there was an attack after the Open-
ing Ceremony by two drunken locals on
three participants from England, Swe-
den, and Norway who had to be hospi-
talized. Organizers termed the attack an
isolated incident, and the two men have
been arrested. Two days later, a man
launched Roman candle fireworks into
the Track and Field competition, injur-
ing Dean Koda of the Seattle Front Run-
ners. Many American blogs and news
sites reported multiple bombings that
created shrapnel, accounts that appar-
ently misrepresented the limited nature
of the incident.
Erik Farso Madsen, press spokesman
for the Out Games said, “There were no
bombs, only firecrackers, but they can be
dangerous enough.” Madsen indicated
that security had been tight throughout
all the events at the Games, commenting,
“The good thing about it is the police are
extremely active. Police were around, and
the athlete ran after him [the attacker]
and they caught him immediately.” Koda,
Madsen said, went ahead and partici-
pated in his event. Madsen said there had
also been a declaration from Pia Allerslev,
Copenhagen’s top cultural official, who
said that a “lunatic spoiled the atmo-
sphere,” of the Games. Otherwise, accord-
ing to Madsen, “it’s business as usual”
with no plans to change any of the events.
The Out Games ended August 2, com-
bining its closing festival with the annual
Copenhagen Pride Parade. Usually held
later in August, the parade was moved
ahead of schedule this year in order to
conclude the Games with a local focus.
Swimmers from Germany and Australia prepare to take a plunge off Copenhagen’s docks.
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had just quit my Wall Street trad-
ing job thinking I had only a year
or two more to live, and came out
publicly as HIV positive during an
ACT UP demo. Robert was HIV
negative, and he helped me live
and love without stigma.” Michael
Petrelis, on his blog, quoted AIDS
activist Jay Blotcher as writing of
Hilferty, “He was erudite, delight-
ful, pugnacious, and wistful.”
In recent years, Hilferty, who
lived in Manhattan, worked as a
music and film critic for Bloomberg
News.
Merce
Cunningham
Dies at 90
Merce Cunningham, a gay
American choreographer who New
York Times critic Alistair Macauley
said “ranks with Isadora Duncan,
Serge Diaghilev, Martha Graham,
and George Balanchine in mak-
ing people rethink the essence of
dance and choreography,” died at
the age of 90 on July 26. British
ballet teacher Richard Glasstone
said he was, with Fred Astaire and
Margot Fonteyn, among the three
best dancers he ever saw. Macau-
ley credited him, Jerome Robbins,
and Paul Taylor, with leading “the
way to founding what can retro-
spectively be called the New York
School of Dance.”
Cunningham, who lived in
Manhattan, first worked with his
life companion, composer John
Cage, when he and Cage’s then-
wife, Xenia, appeared in a per-
formance of a Cage work at the
Museum of Modern Art in 1943.
Cage and Cunningham began to
work together a good deal, forging
what Macauley called “the most
radical of their ideas about dance
theater: that dance and music
should be performed at the same
time but prepared separately, both
autonomous and co-existent.” The
two men also began a romantic
relationship — Cage’s marriage
to Xenia ended as a result — that
was “an open secret,” coming to
light publicly only in 1989, when
Cage, who died in 1992, responded
to a question about it by saying, “I
do the cooking, and Merce does
the dishes.”
Simon Karlinsky,
Eminent Russian
and Gay Scholar,
Dead at 84
Simon Karlinsky, for more than
30 years a distinguished professor
in the Slavic Languages and Litera-
tures Department of the University
of California at Berkeley, author and
editor of books on Gogol, Nabokov,
and Chekov, and an internationally
renowned expert on the history of
homosexuality in Russia, died on
July 5. A native of the Manchurian
city of Harbin, then a Russian cul-
tural outpost, Karlinsky was 84 and
lived in Kensington, California. The
death, announced by his husband,
Peter Carleton, was due to conges-
tive heart failure.
Karlinsky is best known as the
author or editor of books concern-
ing major Russian writers, mostly
of the late 19th and 20th centuries.
Edmund White, in the Washington
Post Book World, called Karlin-
sky’s “Sexual Labyrinth of Nikolai
Gogol” (1976) “a brilliant new
biography that will long be prized
for its illuminating psychological
insights into Gogol’s actions, its
informative readings of his fiction
and drama, and its own stylistic
grace and vivacity.” The book was
the first to address the homosexu-
ality of the famed Russian writer,
and its impact on his work. Karlin-
sky was a contributor to such pub-
lications as the New York Times
Book Review, the Nation, the New
Yorker, the New York Review of
Books, the Times Literary Supple-
᭤ BRIEFS, from p.4
᭤ BRIEFS, continued on p.18
6 - 19
AUG
2009
Preserving LGBT Video History
NYU acquires Gay Cable Network’s 19-year, 6,100-hour archive
14/ Community
BY ANDY HUMM
T
housands of hours of
video news and features
on the LGBT and AIDS
movements produced by Lou
Maletta for his Gay Cable Net-
work (GCN) over 19 years have
been acquired by New York Uni-
versity’s Fales Library for cata-
loguing and preservation. Mal-
etta, 72, launched the network
in 1982 with “Men in Films,”
which explored male erotica,
and soon went on to develop
news programming that gave
virtually the only television
attention to the nascent AIDS
crisis and the ongoing fight for
LGBT rights on shows such as
“Pride and Progress” (succeed-
ed by the national “Gay USA”
show that I still co-host with
Ann Northrop out of Manhattan
Neighborhood Network).
Maletta shut down opera-
tions in 2001, but has been
paying for storage of the 6,100
hours of videotape in the hopes
of selling the archive. While NYU
is paying him a small fee for the
donation, Marvin Taylor, the
Fales director, called it “a major
preservation challenge,” saying
it could cost as much as $4 mil-
lion to complete the digitization
process — a task that will take
many years and for which he is
seeking funding.
“NYU has one of the most
important gender studies pro-
grams in the country,” Taylor
said, and the GCN material
was a natural fit for the library,
complementing its Downtown
New York collection that docu-
ments the arts scenes from
the 1970s through the ’90s, “a
world decimated by the AIDS
epidemic,” the library’s release
said. “This is the age of You-
Tube,” Taylor said. “These days
preserving history through
moving images is what we need
to be doing. And scholars really
want it.”
Maletta is thrilled that his
life’s work finally has a home.
“No one else has anything of
this nature in the world,” he
said. Maletta went out and
covered everything he could in
the community with a sense
of mission and the conviction
that “the way to educate people
was with the greatest tool of all
time — television.” Part of what
motivated him to use his video
equipment to cover the commu-
nity was watching a 30-year-old
friend “turning into someone
who looked 90, six months after
being diagnosed with GRID
[Gay-Related Immune Deficien-
cy, the first acronym for AIDS]
in 1982. No one had seen a KS
lesion on TV until we put it on
cable.”
From 1984 to 2000, the Gay
Cable Network provided team
coverage of the Democratic
and Republican National Con-
ventions, with reporters on the
floor interviewing political lead-
ers from Dick Cheney, Henry
Kissinger, and George W. Bush
to Jesse Jackson and Ann Rich-
ards. The network also covered
LGBT and AIDS demonstrations
outside the conventions, as well
as countless local and national
protests including the 1987
and 1993 national marches on
Washington and the rise of ACT
UP in 1987. Regular weekly
updates by AIDS experts were a
vital resource for a community
in crisis in the 1980s and ’90s.
But Gay Cable Network also
covered the social, cultural, and
sexual lives of LGBT people with
in-depth interview programs
such as “Be Our Guest” and
a show on bondage — “In the
Dungeon” with Slave Dale, an
impish and socially conscious
leather man. Some of the nota-
ble artists interviewed on the
network were Patrick Stewart,
Ian McKellen, Harvey Fierstein,
Tony Kushner, director Derek
Jarman, Quentin Crisp, writer
Vito Russo, Sara Jessica Parker,
and Barbara Walters, among an
eclectic mix of countless others.
Maletta said that much of the
footage he and his crew shot did
not make it into the final shows,
but will be preserved in the col-
lection. “The cablecast footage
along with all the material that
has never been shown is a tre-
mendous resource for docu-
mentarians and historians,” he
said.
“I am thrilled that NYU is
preserving this invaluable
resource,” said Northrop, who
worked on the network’s con-
vention coverage in 1996 and
has co-hosted “Gay USA” for
the last 13 years. “Lou Maletta’s
collection is an incomparable
record of LGBT history.”
Maletta and Taylor were
introduced by Allen Zwickler,
who heads the Phil Zwickler
Foundation, named for his late
filmmaker brother who made
the documentary “Rights and
Reactions,” about the passage
of the New York gay rights bill
in 1986, and was a correspon-
dent for GCN. Phil died of AIDS
in 1991. “It’s more than 6,000
hours of film about civil rights
and human rights,” Allen, an
NYU alumnus involved in fund-
ing AIDS charities, said. “It is so
incredible that it had to be pre-
served.”
Zwickler approached Tay-
lor, who received the approval
of Carol A. Mandel, the dean
of Libraries at NYU. Philip
Brian Harper, chair of NYU’s
Department of English, said
in a release, “I cannot empha-
size enough how valuable this
acquisition is to me and those of
my students who work in con-
temporary US sexuality stud-
ies. The increasingly ephem-
eral character of the public
discourse in this arena makes
it very difficult for scholars in
the field to construct manage-
able working archives on which
to focus their analyses, and the
GCN materials go a very long
way toward addressing this
problem.”
For information on how you
can help support the preserva-
tion of the Gay Cable Network
archive at NYU, contact Marvin
Taylor at 212-998-2596 or at
fales.library@nyu.edu.
In March 1954, Legg engineered
what White calls “a closed-door
coup” to oust Jennings as the
magazine’s editor after a year
of increasingly stormy conflicts
between the two.
Slater eventually took over
as the magazine’s editor, and
the next decade of ONE’s his-
tory would essentially be cen-
tered on the conflict between
the short, ebullient, and anar-
chic editor and the tall, impe-
rious, and authoritarian Legg.
It was Legg who spurred the
founding of ONE Institute,
which sponsored classes on
gay culture — which at their
height drew an enrollment of
some 250 — scholarly stud-
ies, and European tours. ONE
magazine’s circulation even-
tually reached 5,000 copies,
and ONE Institute prospered
thanks to an eccentric female-
to-male transsexual millionaire
from Louisiana, Reed Erickson,
who provided the Institute with
monthly subsidies and even-
tually shelled out $1.8 million
for a Los Angeles mansion to
house it.
In October 1954, the US
Postal Service declared the
magazine “obscene” for run-
ning a lesbian love story. ONE
sued, and finally won in a land-
mark 1958 Supreme Court
decision that established forev-
er the right of gay publications
to be distributed through the
mails. But a suicidal 1965 split
in ONE, Inc. between the Legg
and Slater factions, which tore
each other apart in a two-year
lawsuit, eventually led to ONE
magazine’s demise in 1967.
The name is kept alive today
through the ONE National Gay
and Lesbian Archives, which
is affiliated with USC and pro-
claims itself “the world’s larg-
est research library on Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual, and Trans-
gendered heritage and con-
cerns.”
It’s unfortunate that White is
not a better writer. He has little
narrative sense, and his clut-
tered book is rather disjointed
— names appear with no infor-
mation as to who those people
were; the text is larded with
lengthy exegeses from texts on
sociological and anthropologi-
cal methodology and arcane
words f rom the academi c
vocabulary that most readers
won’t know; and there are long
sections based on the records
of ONE’s board meetings which
document bureaucratic and
parliamentary minutiae that
make for truly soporific read-
ing. A doctoral thesis meant to
impress a professor does not
necessarily make for an easily
readable book.
Still, for those with the stam-
ina to slog through White’s infe-
licitous prose, “Pre-Gay L.A.”
contains valuable information
about a host of queer pioneers
whose names have been forgot-
ten but who merit being hon-
ored for their courage and fore-
sight. For that, White deserves
to be applauded.
The extensive web site for
the ONE National Gay and Les-
bian Archives is at http://www.
onearchives.org/.
᭤ PIONEERS, from p.2
“The way to educate people was
with the greatest tool of all
time — television.”
A landmark 1958 Supreme Court
decision established forever the right
of gay publications to be distributed
through the mails.
WWW.GAYCITYNEWS.COM
15
6 – 19 AUG 2009
14 DAYS
14 NIGHTS
᭤ AUG 9, continued on p.22
᭤ AUG 9, from p.12
and merriment. Bring a side dish or des-
sert to share with a few fellow BBQers.
LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th
St., 2-5 p.m. Open to women 40-plus.
Free. For more information, call Alex at
212-741-2247.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
FILM
Wrangler for All
Times
This summer, Jersey City’s Chill Fest
offers up four evenings of sex, horror, and
sci-fi queer cinema. Tonight, the series con-
tinues with “Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon,”
Jeffrey Schwarz’s documentary about 1970s
porn superstar Jack Wrangler, who died ear-
lier this year. Automata Chino, 99 Greene
St. at York St., Jersey City, 6:30 p.m.
for cocktails and socializing, 7 p.m.
screening. One block from the Exchange
Pl. PATH station. The series concludes with
Dino De Laurentis’ 1980 “Flash Gordon,”
with inspiration directly from the comic strip
and movie serials of the 1930s in a colorful
rainbow of camp delights, with bleach blond
Sam J. Jones as quarterback hero Gordon
and Melody Anderson as his love interest,
Dale Arden (Aug. 23). Admission is $10. You
must be 21. Complete information at mys-
pace.com/chillfestjerseycity.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
CABARET
Where’s Sammy
Been?
He may be talent-challenged, but
cabaret crooner Sammy Velvet is out, loud
& proud, and he returns to the New York
stage, after an eight-year absence, due
to underwhelming demand for his vitally
important, one-of-a-kind cabaret perfor-
mance. You gotta see it to believe it. Vel-
vet, the alter ego of downtown arts maven
Scott Stiffler, is joined by Beau Mansfield
as Grey Seamann on piano. What’s Sammy
up to this time? Nothing less than a loving,
comic, and desperate recreation of “Liza at
the Palace” — La Minnelli’s Tony-winning
2008 performance. The Palace wasn’t
available for this homage, so it’s off to
Don’t Tell Mama (not so inappropriate
given Liza’s invasion of Judy’s old stomping
ground), 343 W. 46 St., Aug. 9, 5:30 p.m.,
Aug. 10, 7 p.m. There’s a $5 donation at
the door and a two-beverage minimum.
For reservations, call 212-757-0788.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
Klezzie Brunch
Metropolitan Klezmer, the musical
ensemble that also includes the Isle of
Klezbos combo, provides the soundtrack
T
wo weeks ago, the Sen-
ate narrowly defeated a
proposed amendment
to the Defense Appropriations
Bill, under which people who
had licenses to carry concealed
weapons issued by their home
state would be allowed to carry
such weapons everywhere in
the US, including those states
with stricter licensing criteria
or outright bans. The main
argument against the amend-
ment was that states should
be allowed to establish their
own policy on who, if anybody,
can carry concealed weapons.
Giving nationwide effect to
any particular state’s licenses
would therefore invade the
right of each state to decide
what is necessary to preserve
public order in its own juris-
diction.
I was struck by the fact that
during the debate nobody
invoked the Full Faith and
Credit Clause of the US Con-
stitution (found in Article IV,
Section 1), which provides that
“Full Faith and Credit shall be
given in each State to the public
Acts, Records, and judicial Pro-
ceedings of every other State.”
No senator chose to make the
argument that the proposed
amendment was unnecessary
because the FFCC already
requires states to honor con-
cealed weapons licenses issued
by other states.
This question occurred to me
because in 1996 a frenzy over
the Full Faith issue regarding
the recognition of same-sex
marriages led Congress to rush
through, by huge margins, the
federal Defense of Marriage
Act. At the time, it was argued,
Congress needed to pass what
became Section 2 of DOMA
because Hawaii was on the
verge of allowing same-sex cou-
ples to marry. Because Hawaii
had no residency requirement
for marriage, same-sex couples
from all over the country could
flock to Hawaii, marry, and
then demand that their home
states recognize their marriage
under the FFCC, DOMA’s pro-
ponents warned. Its enactment
was necessary, they said, to
preserve the right of individual
states to resist marriage equal-
ity from invading their jurisdic-
tions.
In the case of both guns and
marriage, we are talking about
a license issued by the state
after a state clerical employee
determines that the specified
requirements are met. After a
license is issued, a copy of it
is on file in some government
office — or more likely today,
retained as an electronic record
in a state database. The stat-
utes and regulations governing
license requirements probably
meet the definition of “public
acts,” and the filed licenses are
undoubtedly “public records.”
But in neither case — the issu-
ance of a concealed weapon
license or the issuance of a
marriage license — is a judge
involved, so my bet is that nei-
ther qualifies as a “judicial Pro-
ceeding.” Even when a judge
officiates at a civil wedding
ceremony, that is not a formal
court proceeding.
Given the similarities of
these two licensing procedures,
I think it is fair to conclude that
the recent gun debate illumi-
nates the ignorance rampant
during the ’96 DOMA hyste-
ria. My own research led me
to write, in a law review article
more than a decade ago, that
the FFCC does not compel mar-
riage recognition by the states,
because a marriage itself is not
a public Act, a public record, or
a judicial Proceeding. The case
law on marriage recognition
suggests that one state recog-
nizing the marriages of another
is a matter of comity — cour-
tesy or mutual civility between
them, in popular parlance —
not of compulsion under the
FFCC. States have always been
free to refuse to recognize mar-
riages that could not have been
performed in their own juris-
diction if they concluded that
according recognition would
be inconsistent with their own
public policies, as articulated in
statutes, regulations, and state
judicial opinions.
Those who argued that Sec-
tion 2 of DOMA, which provides
that states are not required
to recognize same-sex mar-
riages from other states, was
necessary to protect states
from being compelled to recog-
nize such marriages were just
plain wrong. In its FFCC juris-
prudence, the Supreme Court
has never ruled that states are
required to recognize marriages
from other states.
States are required to rec-
ognize divorces and adoptions
from other states, mind you,
because in those instances
there is a “judicial Proceed-
ing” — a divorce or an adop-
tion results from a court order
based on a judgment exercised
by a duly authorized judicial
officer, so the FFCC literally
applies. This has been dra-
matically confirmed recently
by state appellate decisions in
Florida and Louisiana holding
that adoptions by same-sex
couples judicially approved in
other jurisdictions would be
recognized pursuant to the
FFCC, regardless of the fact
that neither Florida, which
bans all adoptions by gay peo-
ple, nor Louisiana allows same-
sex couples to adopt children
within their states.
And t hat , by anal ogy,
explains why in the absence
of the proposed gun amend-
ment, states are free to ignore
or refuse to recognize permits
to carry concealed weapons
issued by other states. A per-
mit or license does not come
within the FFCC. The permit
or license is not a “public Act,”
a “public record,” or a “judicial
Proceeding” as those terms are
used in the FFCC. My license
to practice law in New York
does not entitle me to practice
law in New Jersey by virtue of
the FFCC. The same is true of
medical licenses, and other
licenses to engage in various
professions regulated by the
states, including teaching. I
don’t think anybody has ever
successfully argued that the
public schools of other states
are required to honor licenses
issued by the New York State
Education Department.
The lesson to be learned from
the gun debate, however, is not
only important for DOMA’s pro-
ponents to understand — it
is also relevant for advocates
seeking to undo it. In an inter-
view with the Bay Area Reporter
last week, New York Congress-
man Jerrold Nadler made clear
that legislation he intends to
introduce shortly would repeal
not only Section 3 of DOMA —
which bars the federal govern-
ment from recognizing same-
sex marriages — but also Sec-
tion 2. Should the federal gov-
ernment choose to recognize
valid same-sex marriages, they
would likely extend the cor-
responding federal rights and
benefits regardless of whether
a married couple’s marriage is
recognized by their home state
— and it appears as though
Nadler intends to make this
policy explicit through what he
termed a “certainty provision.”
Repealing Section 2, how-
ever, would still not have the
effect, in my view, of compelling
any state to recognize same-
sex marriages from another
jurisdiction; arguments about
the FFCC would not affect the
rights of states to decide which
marriages to accord their rec-
ognition to. It might, however,
remove a psychological barrier,
empowering judges to analyze
the issue using comity princi-
ples rather than just reflexively
refusing recognition by citing
DOMA.
Interestingly, the lawsuit
recently filed by the Common-
wealth of Massachusetts chal-
lenging the constitutionality of
DOMA’s bar on federal recogni-
tion of same-sex marriage relies
on the view that the federal
government has no say con-
stitutionally in what kinds of
marriages a state can or must
recognize. DOMA’s require-
ment that the US government
not recognize gay marriages
from that state infringes on
Massachusetts’ rights, guaran-
teed by the Tenth Amendment,
to define marriage as it sees fit,
the Commonwealth’s attorney
general has argued.
■ ANALYSIS
Guns, Gays, and the Full Faith and Credit Clause
BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
The lessons of the gun debate are
not only important for DOMA’s
proponents to understand — they
are also relevant for advocates
seeking to undo it.
16
WWW.GAYCITYNEWS.COM
6 – 19 AUG 2009
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6 – 19 AUG 2009
riage ruling, muted enthusiasm during his presi-
dential exploratory run, his affiliation with — and
large donations to — the very anti-gay Republican
Party show what a friend he’s been to this com-
munity. Politicians count on gays and lesbians to
not “hold everything people did in the past against
them” to continually walk on us. I know he does
the Human Rights Campaign dinner circuit; I’m not
impressed. I support Bill Thompson because I’m
not a celebrity, I don’t have a blog, I don’t have mil-
lions — and I need the voice of my public officials
to help me fight for my equality whether it’s politi-
cally expedient or not.
Matthew Goldstein
Manhattan
APPRECIATIVE OF COHEN
July 17, 2009
To the Editor:
In his review of “Bruno,” Steve Erickson writes,
“’Bruno’ could have been a brilliant satire on homopho-
bia” (“Satire Dual-Edged, But Spare,” Jul. 9-22). I think
the reviewer is seeking political correctness and a
movie that will preach to the converted. That kind of
film plays for one week at the Quad.
“Bruno” is a disturbing and outrageously funny film
about the insatiable appetite in this country for fame.
The film is doing terribly in Middle America because
they don’t want to see any fags on screen, particularly
gay men kissing passionately. Writer and star Sacha
Baron Cohen (Bruno) is a mad genius.
Jim Sullivan
New York City
WRITE US!
Address letters to the editor, of no more than 250
words, to:
Editor@gaycitynews.com;
Or fax them to 646-452-2501;
Or mail them to 145 Sixth Ave.,
1st fl., New York 10013.
Please include your phone number, for confirmation
purposes only. The editors reserve the right to edit all
letters due to space constraints.
᭤ LETTERS, from p.10
effort, he succeeded in Greenpoint. “As
comptroller, you put an idea out there
and it’s on the table, partly because of
the citywide platform, partly because the
commissioners need you,” he said. “You
approve their contracts and audit them.
If the comptroller has an idea, the com-
missioners will look at it seriously, even
though it’s not your decision. In my
experience, if you have a good idea, the
key issue is getting it out there.”
Transparency in budgeting, with each
agency’s funding broken out program
by program, rather than in obscure
bureaucratic coding, and posted online
is what is needed to give journalists and
voters the opportunity to scrutinize the
city’s efficiency in delivering services,
Yassky said. Implicitly, he acknowl-
edged there is likely considerable work
to be done before that could be a reality.
“Sometimes City Council members, City
Council staff, sometimes I think even
the city’s own budget director doesn’t
fully understand what the underlying
substance is of cuts, or additions, and
budget choices because there is so little
transparency,” he said.
Yassky, who has won the endorse-
ment of the Gay and Lesbian Indepen-
dent Democrats, also voiced unequivo-
cal support for continuing the tradition
of New York City comptrollers playing
a lead role in the shareholder rights
movement that has enjoyed significant
success in moving corporate America
toward adopting fair employment and
marketplace practices regarding the
LGBT community. Among the nation’s
largest institutional investors, the city
pension funds, along with those of New
York State and California, have been
leaders in the effort for roughly two
decades. “That’s one of the things that
the city has been justly famous for,” he
said.
Last fall, as the Council debated
extending term limits, Yassky caught
flak for what some said was a flip-flop.
After proposing the electorate vote on
the mayor’s effort to get rid of the bar on
a third term, he voted with the Council
majority to do the job instead through
legislation. He does not apologize for
that vote. “We have an experienced gov-
ernment and experienced mayor who
many people think has done a very
good job in his first seven years, includ-
ing me, you can count me, I think he’s
done a very good job in his first seven
years,” Yassky said. “Does that mean
I think he’s the best for the next four
years? That remains to be seen. Term
limits would take away a choice from
the voters.” He acknowledged that he
himself voted against term limits in
both the 1993 and the 1996 referenda
that approved them, and said it would
have been better to once again leave the
question to the voters. But when that
option was rejected by the Council, “The
question we had before us was, ‘Is 12
years better than eight, and I think 12 is
better than eight.”
He also noted that the vote had no
upside for him. He had no interest in
seeking a third term himself, incumbent
Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr.,
could have opted (but did not) to seek
another four years in that post, and
voters outraged by the extension could
use it against him. But, he said, if the
economy were in dire straits in Novem-
ber 2009, and “you could have extended
it and didn’t, you might regret having
taken away the choice.”
᭤ YASSKY, from p.7
ment, and Saturday Review.
For early gay publications,
including Christopher Street¸ Gay
Sunshine, and the Advocate, he
wrote on such topics as Russian
gay literature and history from the
11th century onward, pre-Soviet
gay life, the impact of the October
Revolution on gay literature and
culture, Diaghilev, Tchaichovsky,
Gogol, and the persecution of the
out Russian poet Gennady Trifonov.
Immigrating to the US in 1938,
Karlinsky joined the US Army in
1943 and was liaison interpreter
for the US Department of State in
Germany from 1945 through 1950,
and a liaison officer for the US
Command in Berlin from 1952 until
1957. During that time, he met
gay Russian soldiers who piqued
his interest in gay life both before
and during the Soviet regime. After
attending Los Angeles City Col-
lege, École Normale de Musique
in Paris, and Berlin Hochschule für
Musik, he received his BA from the
University of California at Berkeley
in 1960, a master’s from Harvard,
and his PhD in Slavic Languages
and Literatures from Berkeley in
1964.
Karlinsky was a Berkeley fac-
ulty member from 1964 until he
was named a professor emeritus
in 1991. He and husband Carleton
were together since 1974.
Obama Retreats
from Policy
Hamstringing
Global AIDS
Push
The Justice Department has
temporarily withdrawn an appeal
of a US court injunction that bars
the federal government from
enforcing a policy requiring over-
seas recipients of Global AIDS
funds to pledge their “opposition
to prostitution.”
The National Law Journal, on
July 22, reported that the Obama
administration has asked the court
to give it until January 8, 2010
to reconsider the controversial
stance on this issue taken by for-
mer President George W. Bush.
The Bush policy had aimed to
block any group seen as “promot-
ing prostitution” from getting US
funding, but many social service
groups in Africa have complained
that the language of the policy
impeded them from doing out-
reach to sex workers to educate
them about risk reduction. The
widespread practice of hetero-
sexual men in Africa having sex
with prostitutes has been a major
contributor to the spread of AIDS
on that continent.
Indian
Government
Treads
Cautiously on
Sodomy
Top Indian officials have rec-
ommended that the entire cabi-
net of Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh consider the recent ruling
by the Delhi High Court decrimi-
nal i zi ng consensual sodomy
before the government takes a
position on a pending appeal to
the Supreme Court.
The Economic Times of India
on Jul y 29 reported that the
home, law, and health ministers,
who had already been reviewing
a possible reform of the sodomy
statute, implemented during the
British Imperial Era, are favorably
disposed toward the ruling, but
are also mindful of anger toward
the decriminalization by Muslim,
Sikh, and Christian religious lead-
ers and right-wing Hindu groups.
“Some ministers feel that
a consensus shoul d be bui l t
among the political class as well
as within the society before pub-
licly backing” the Delhi court’s
ruling, the newspaper wrote.
In a provisional victory for
gay r i ght s gr oups i n I ndi a,
the Supreme Court last week
refused to issue a stay of the
Delhi court ruling while a peti-
tioner challenging the decrimi-
nalization advances his case.
Dual-Track
Solution for
Episcopals?
In response to the US Episcopal
Church’s decision, in its recent ten-
day convention in Southern Cali-
fornia, to allow for the ordination
of gay and lesbian bishops and for
individual congregations to bless
same-sex unions, Archbishop of
Canterbury Rowan Williams issued
a letter on July 27 suggesting that
the future of the worldwide Angli-
can Communion might be based on
a “two-track” or “two tier” model.
One track would include those
congregations willing to live
within the Communion’s “cov-
enantal structure,” with the other
abiding by “fewer formal expecta-
tions.” Pointing specifically to the
choices made by the US Church,
Williams wrote of openly gay and
lesbian people living in sexual
relationships, “their chosen life-
style is not one that the Church’s
teaching sanctions.” Emphasizing
that the Communion had not yet
come to consensus on whether
that teaching requires change, he
also wrote, “It takes time and a
willingness to believe that what
we determine together is more
likely, in a New Testament frame-
work, to be in tune with the Holy
Spirit than what any one commu-
nity decides locally.”
The clear implication is that
in reaching the conclusions it
did earlier this month, the Epis-
copal Church may have chosen
to live outside the larger body’s
“covenantal structure,” but in his
letter Williams, addressing the
differences within the Commu-
nion, insisted he aimed “to speak
about them not in apocalyptic
terms of schism and excommu-
nication.” Still, he acknowledged
that some might interpret his
approach as creating “a first- and
second-class structure.”
Williams’ letter also hinted at
the possibility that some of the
congregations — especially in
Africa, but also some in America
— that have threatened schism
in opposition of the gay-friendly
policies in the US Church might
also fall into the second-tier
that would include the Episcopal
Church. “It needs to be made
absolutely clear,” he wrote, “that,
on the basis of repeated state-
ments at the highest levels of the
Communion’s life, no Anglican
has any business reinforcing
prejudice against LGBT people,
questioning their human dignity
and civil liberties or their place
within the Body of Christ.”
Alleged
Lawrence King
Killer to Be Tried
as Adult
Ventura County Superior Court
Judge Ken Riley ruled on July 22
that Brandon McInerney, who had
just turned 14 at the time that he
allegedly murdered Lawrence
King, a 15-year-old gay classmate
at E.O. Green Junior High School
in Oxnard, California, will stand
trial as an adult for first-degree
murder as a hate crime.
The Los Angeles Times report-
ed that the ruling came after
three days of testimony regarding
the February 2008 killing, in which
investigators said that McInerney
told fellow students, “You bet-
ter say goodbye to him because
you won’t see him again.” Riley
stated that King was fatally shot
after his assailant lay in wait for
him “with the cold-blooded preci-
sion of an executioner.”
One i nvesti gator tol d the
᭤ BRIEFS, from p.13
᭤ BRIEFS, continued on p.19
6 - 19
AUG
2009
Civil Union Can Be Ended in NYS
Westchester judge says court has power to dissolve Vermont union
Legal /19
BY ARTHUR S. LEONARD
A
New Yor k Supr eme
Court Justice has ruled
that the general equi-
ty powers of the court can be
applied in dissolving a Vermont
civil union. In a July 15 ruling
that used only the parties’ ini-
tials, Westchester County Jus-
tice Sam D. Walker dismissed
a divorce petition filed by one of
the women, but did so without
prejudice to the plaintiff’s right
to file a new complaint seeking
to dissolve the 2004 civil union
she and her ex entered into.
According to Walker’s opin-
ion, the relationship between
the couple, who held a religious
marriage ceremony in New Mex-
ico in 1994, began to deteriorate
when the defendant’s alcohol-
ism led her to become abusive
and eventually to institute pro-
ceedings to have her partner
evicted from their home, charac-
terizing her as a “tenant at will.”
The plaintiff managed to fore-
stall eviction, and filed a divorce
action in Supreme Court on the
basis of her claim the couple
was married. Her ex-partner not
only denied they were married,
but also challenged the valid-
ity of their civil union, pointing
to ambiguous language on the
certificate she said meant the
union was only authorized for
purposes of Vermont law.
Walker agreed the couple
was not married and therefore
could not divorce. However,
that did not mean, in his view,
that the plaintiff could not seek
relief from the New York courts.
Noting the general understand-
ing that Vermont has no resi-
dency requirement for entering
into a civil union, Walker con-
cluded that the union between
the women was legally valid.
“Although plaintiff and defen-
dant reside in New York and do
not meet the residency require-
ments to commence an action
in Vermont to dissolve their
union, this decision does not
conclude plaintiff has no civil
New York remedy,” Walker
wrote. “She must be afforded a
legal avenue to accomplish the
fair and equitable dissolution of
her fractured relationship with
defendant.”
The justice noted that the
Family Court in Vermont han-
dles both divorces and dissolu-
tions of civil unions there, and
pointed out that the Supreme
Court in New York has general
jurisdiction over civil actions,
including those which could
also be heard in Family Court
here. While dismissing the
plaintiff’s divorce action, he left
open to her the option of filing
another complaint to dissolve
the couple’s civil union. He also
extended the stay on her evic-
tion, allowing her time to re-file.
In exercising its authority to dis-
solve a civil union, the Supreme
Court would presumably draw
on the state’s divorce law in
dividing up property, income,
and other assets held by the
couple.
This decision marks a signifi-
cant advance, apparently the
first in which a New York trial
judge has asserted the power to
dissolve a civil union formed in
another jurisdiction. Walker’s
opinion cited the several New
York trial court decisions that
have already asserted the same
jurisdiction regarding divorce
petitions from same-sex couples
legally married out-of-state.
Spado had not intended to
establish a parent-child relation-
ship; indeed, later in 1991, the
adoption law was amended to
require that both the adopting
party and the adoptee “reside” in
the state, and that the petitioner
swear their intention to create a
parent and child relationship.
But these were not require-
ments when the Watson-Spado
adoption was granted, and the
high court was not willing to
impose them retroactively. The
court pointed out that the Maine
statute at the time of Spado’s
adoption unequivocally allowed
adult adoptions, which might be
sought for any of a variety of rea-
sons, not least for estate plan-
ning purposes.
The result is that Patricia
Spado remains the legal daughter
of Olive Watson, as far as Maine
law is concerned. Since the US
Constitution’s Full Faith and
Credit Clause has consistently
been interpreted to require states
to recognize adoptions granted
by courts in other states, the
Connecticut court considering
Spado’s claim against the Wat-
son trust would be bound to find
that she is the adoptive daughter
of Watson. The trustees, though,
may yet find other grounds to
challenge her right to share in
what is likely a rich inheritance.
᭤ ADOPTION, from p.9
special occasion, the operator at
the florist, upon hearing whom
the gift was for, asked, “This
isn’t the same E. Lynn Har-
ris who’s my favorite author, is
it?” He loved that story. In fact,
I think he lived for feedback like
this. His voice would light up
over the phone as he read me
his fan mail, saying, “Wait till
you hear this one” like a proud
kid. No matter all those best-
sellers. He was still genuinely
touched that readers followed
his career so enthusiastically.
As a gay editor who’s worked
with a lot of famous gay writ-
ers, I can’t think of anyone else
who felt more thoroughly con-
nected to his readers — or them
to him.
One of the special privileges of
working with E. Lynn was get-
ting to know him on a personal
level, though it wasn’t until I read
the obituaries describing him as
leading a “very private personal
life” that I realized how often we
discussed our love lives. Maybe
those melodramatic plotlines at
the core of his work naturally
lent themselves to guy talk — the
men who’d screwed us around,
whether Internet dating was ulti-
mately more hopeless than the
bar scene, stories about his end-
less parade of college athletes
who were always at his door,
and how a celebrated, older gay
writer I’m close to could afford
all the hustlers, much less find
the time to write. E. Lynn asked
with a laugh, “Is that our future,
Don, hustlers?” He was as con-
scious as any middle-aged guy
about his age, so when a young
date once guessed his age as
15 years younger than it actu-
ally was, E. Lynn was, of course,
delighted.
That melodramatic nature
of his work, while earning him
tremendous success, could
also be a problem for gay read-
ers, who frequently dismissed
him as “not the greatest writer.”
I believe some of this was envy,
some of it resentment that his
fiction was sympathetic to clos-
eted men. What really defines
a great writer, anyway? Must it
be someone who writes on par
with the “greats” (whoever they
may be), or can it be someone
whose work radicalized Ameri-
can literature with represen-
tations of lives not previously
depicted, someone whose writ-
ing so profoundly touched audi-
ences that millions of books
have been sold? I count E.
Lynn Harris among the greatest
authors I have been honored to
work with, and I miss him like a
brother.
Don Weise is the publisher of
Alyson Books.
᭤ HARRIS, from p.3
court about an Oxnard man iden-
tified as the defendant’s neo-Nazi
“mentor.”
Prosecutor Maeve Fox said
that if convicted, McInerney could
face 53 years to life in prison.
At t or neys f or McI ner ney
suggested he had been sexual
abused as a child and felt threat-
ened when King responded to
anti-gay taunts from their client
and other students by making
sexual overtures.
Gay Donors
Pulling Back
from 2010 Prop
8 Rematch
Big money donors to last year’s
effort to defeat California’s Prop-
osition 8, which ended marriage
equality there, are voicing oppo-
sition to plans for bringing the
issue back before voters in 2010.
The New Yor k Ti mes, on
July 27, quoted David Bohnett,
a technology entrepreneur who
gave more than a million dollars
in 2008 in the drive to protect
the State Supreme Court victory
there, saying, “In conversations
wi th a number of my fel l ow
maj or No on 8 donors, I fi nd
that they share my sentiment:
namely, that we will step up to
the plate — with resources and
talent — when the time is right.
The only thing worse than losing
in 2008 would be to lose again
in 2010.”
Sentiment like that is moving
Equality California, California’s
LGBT l obby, whi ch had ear-
lier advocated going back to the
polls next year, to retreat. “If you
look at the poll numbers since
November, they really haven’t
moved at all,” the Times quotes
the group’s marriage director,
Marc Solomon, as saying.
At a gathering of more than
200 LGBT leaders in San Ber-
nardino on July 25, a leader of
the Courage Campaign, voiced
similar reticence about moving
forward next year.
This thinking could lead advo-
cates to hold off on pressing
the marriage equality question
until the 2012 presidential elec-
tion, despite the fact that sev-
eral leading pro-gay Democrats,
including San Francisco Mayor
Gavin Newsom and State Attor-
ney General Jerry Brown, are
vying to run in the 2010 guberna-
torial election.
Ot her gr oups, however,
including the Stonewall Demo-
cr at i c Cl ub of Los Angel es,
believe it is important to push for-
ward in order to capitalize on the
anger created by last year’s defeat
at the polls. John M. Cleary, Stone-
wall’s president, said, “I find the
language of some of the organiza-
tions really self-defeating. And I
think we have a moral obligation
to overturn this.”
Corzine Running
Mate an LGBT
Champion
Garden State Equality (GSE),
the LGBT rights lobby in New
Jersey, is hailing Governor Jon
Corzine’s choice of State Senator
᭤ BRIEFS, continued on p.23
᭤ BRIEFS, from p.18
6 - 19
AUG
2009
David Bowie’s My Dad
Misfit teens find salvation in a band rock-off
20/ Film
BY GARY M. KRAMER
O
nce upon a time, out
writer /director Todd
Graff wanted to be a
rock star. He even had a rock
band, “The Pedantics,” and four
of its five members were gay.
“This was back in 15th centu-
ry BC!” Graff said with a laugh
in a recent phone interview.
“We played CBGB’s and opened
for Siouxsie & the Banshees
and Echo and the Bunnymen.
I thought it was what I wanted
to do.”
But Graff’s career took a decid-
edly different direction. He got
into film, where he worked as an
actor in features like “Five Cor-
ners” and “The Abyss.” He then
turned to screenwriting, penning
such films as “Used People” and
“Angie.” In 2003, he wrote and
directed his first feature, “Camp,”
a well-received autobiographi-
cal story about his summers at a
musical theater camp.
Graff’s latest film, “Bandslam,”
unites all his past passions. This
engaging youth drama with
music concerns Will (Gaelan
Connell), an awkward teen who
is trying to fit in at a new high
school. Writing letters to David
Bowie as a coping mechanism for
his loneliness, Will finds himself
managing a group of high school
misfits. He soon turns these out-
casts into serious contenders in
a Battle of the Bands.
While queer audiences may
identify with Will’s feelings of
alienation and invisibility, Graff
Writer and director director Todd Graff (left) with “Bandslam”stars Gaelen Connell and Vanessa Hudgens.
S
U
M
M
IT
E
N
T
E
R
T
A
IN
M
E
N
T
BANDSLAM
Directed by Todd Graff
Summit Entertainment
Opens Aug. 14
Citywide
BY STEVE ERICKSON
A
ndrew Bujalski’s work
carries a weight he’d
probably reject. The
young, Boston-based director
has become the de facto leader
of the mumblecore movement.
So far, mumblecore has spawned
lots of debate in the blogosphere
but hasn’t really struck a chord
beyond the hardcore arthouse
audience.
In a culture where dreck like
“Juno” and “Away We Go” pass
for “indie” cinema, there’s some-
thing refreshing about mum-
blecore’s avoidance of sentimen-
tality and spectacle. Bujalski’s
films are devoted to capturing the
textures of everyday life, a goal
he achieves most of the time.
His peers are less successful;
in particular, Joe Swanberg’s
improvised films, shot on ugly
digital video, capture a genuine
artlessness, rather than using
craft to simulate it.
For all its flaws, mumblecore
is one of the most interesting
things happening in American
cinema right now. Apart from
neo-neo-realist filmmakers like
Ramin Bahrani and Kelly Reich-
ardft, who’ve achieved a slightly
larger amount of commercial
success, and solitary voices like
Julia Loktev and Ronald Bron-
stein, it’s one of the few alter-
natives to the corporate “indie”
cinema that Sundance, Mira-
max, and Fox Searchlight have
left us with.
Bujalski’s first two films were
marginal enough that they
never attracted a distributor;
he wound up releasing them
himself. “Beeswax” is undoubt-
edly his most accomplished
film to date; one wonders if this
attempt at maturity will click
with an audience.
“ Beeswax” t akes pl ace
around a vintage clothing bou-
tique named Storyville in Aus-
tin, Texas. It’s owned by Jean-
nie (Tilly Hatcher), a paraplegic,
and Amanda (Anne Dodge),
who rarely appears on-screen.
Amanda comes into conflict
with Jeannie for reasons never
fully explained, and throws out
vague hints of a lawsuit. Jean-
nie calls an ex-boyfriend, Merrill
(Alex Karpvosky), who’s study-
ing for the bar exam, for legal
protection and to rekindle their
romance. No one seems to know
how serious Amanda’s threats
are, but they make Jeannie
panic and take refuge in her
relationship with her twin sister,
Lauren (Maggie Hatcher).
Perhaps prematurely, Bujal-
ski has been compared to John
Cassavetes, Eric Rohmer, Mau-
rice Pialat, and Jean Eustache.
The Rohmer reference is truest;
like the French director, Bujal-
ski knows how to use language
to reveal his characters’ flaws
and power struggles. At one
point, Jeannie allows Corinne
(Katy O’Connor), one of the
boutique’s clerks, to post flyers
for a same-sex marriage rally
and seems enthusiastic about
her plans to attend. Jean-
nie soon reveals, however, her
anxiety that Corinne will get
arrested there and miss her
shift. The conversation lasts
about five minutes, despite its
relatively trivial nature, and
nicely demonstrates a passive-
aggressive struggle between
the two women.
Bujalski’s characters are
articulate people who don’t
fill the gaps between their
words with “like,” “um,” and
“y’know.” However, they make
the kind of verbal missteps
common in real conversation
but missing from most movie
scripts. In particular, Merrill
makes bad jokes and stretches
out his sentences with strings
of adverbs. Told that Lauren’s
high school boyfriend has died,
he suggests that maybe he
would still be alive if she were
a better girlfriend. Meant to
be funny, the remark hits the
screen with a thud.
More than the Usual Mumbling
Andrew Bujalski’s “Beeswax” is proof of his growing promise
Tilly Hatcher as Jeannie with Maggie Hatcher as Lauren in Andrew Bujalski’s “Beeswax.”
C
IN
E
M
A
G
U
IL
D
BEESWAX
Directed by Andrew Bujalski
The Cinema Guild
Opens Aug. 7
Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St.
filmforum.org
᭤ BEESWAX, continued on p.23
᭤ BANDSLAM, continued on p.23
6 - 19
AUG
2009
Cheap Thrills
Desperate times call for the feisty, value-packed Fringe Festival
Theater /21
BY DAVID KENNERLEY
T
ight belts are all the rage
this summer in New York
City. In June, the city’s
unemployment rate skyrocketed
to 9.5 percent, matching nation-
al levels, the highest in more
than a quarter-century. Store-
fronts sporting “For Rent” signs
are more ubiquitous than Duane
Reades and Chase branches.
And the prognosticators warn
it’s only gonna get worse.
If you’re like most New York-
ers, chances are you scaled
back your summer plans. Day
trips to Jones Beach instead of
a share on Fire Island. Pot luck
parties at home instead of feasts
at Cookshop. Bottles of wine
from Trader Joe’s instead of
bottle service at Garden of Ono.
And rather than forking over
$100 for a glitzy Broadway
show, there’s an alternative ––
check out a play at the New York
Fringe Festival, which will set
you back just 15 bucks a pop. In
fact, the Present Company, the
producer of FringeNYC, hopes
you’ll take advantage of what
they’re calling “Staycations,”
where they’ve clustered together
similarly themed shows so you
can feel like you’ve gone on an
exotic journey without ever leav-
ing Downtown. Just the ticket
for homebound, cash-strapped
urbanites.
“With so many layoffs, it’s
been a tough, strange year for
a lot of people,” said Elena K.
Holy, co-founder and producing
artistic director of FringeNYC.
“They’d normally be traveling,
or scoring a share at the beach.
That wasn’t in the cards this
year. It’s time to enjoy New York
— we live in the best city in the
world. Why not travel vicarious-
ly through our shows?”
While the recession has seen
many theaters go dark and arts
groups vying for scant funds
like pigeons tugging at a crust
of bread, FringeNYC, now in
its 13th year, is healthier than
ever. Many blamed the econo-
my on the shuttering of long-
running hits like “Hairspray,”
and a number of shows once
eyed for this fall find themselves
scrapped or in a holding pattern
due to iffy financing. For now,
the Fringe, with more than 200
shows over 16 days, holds onto
its crown as North America’s
largest multi-arts festival.
“We are actually in a lot bet-
ter shape than other arts orga-
nizations,” said Holy, “because
90 percent of our financing is
earned income.”
According to Holy, the festi-
val’s outside funding, which was
modest to begin with, comes
from the Department of Cultural
Affairs, and budgets got slashed
the same percentage across the
board. “We can tolerate the small
loss,” she said. “It makes you feel
sorry for the companies who got
cut a quarter-million dollars.”
“It’s no wonder the bigger
institutions are suffering,” Holy
continued. “Their endowments
were in the stock market and
they took a big hit. We operate
on a different model. We don’t
have an endowment. Not that I
wouldn’t love to have one some-
day.”
Not all theater festivals are as
resilient. A couple of months ago,
the third annual GayFestNYC
was forced to greatly scale back
its offerings to a mere two staged
readings, citing “an unpredict-
able economy.” The Summer
Play Festival (SPF) slashed the
number of its offerings by half in
the last couple of years.
To make it easier for produc-
ing artists in a sputtering econ-
omy, FringeNYC held participa-
tion fees and ticket prices steady.
“We were thinking about going
up this year, but we need to keep
it affordable,” said Holy. “We are
the cheapest way to produce a
show in the city — we provide a
venue and staff and marketing
support. More than ever, they
can’t finance it themselves. Our
number of applications actually
went up.”
Ron Lasko, who has worked
alongside Holy since the festival’s
early days, believes that, besides
edgy theater, FringeNYC has
always been about thrift.
“Poor starving artists don’t
have funds anyway,” he said.
“None of us are doing it for the
money. It’ s more about art
for art’s sake. And the fun, of
course.”
Lasko noted another welcome
side effect from the economic
meltdown. With so many people
out of work, he’s seen the num-
ber of volunteers climb exponen-
tially.
“In the past, we’ve had to beg
to find people to stuff envelopes
for $10 an hour,” he said with a
laugh. “This year, we were flood-
ed with requests. There’s more
excitement, more interest, and
I expect we’ll have more of an
impact.”
Holy pointed out that it was
easier to find performance spac-
es, because more were available.
“We had people calling us earlier
offering up their theaters,” she
said. “For the first time ever,
HERE is a venue. They recently
renovated. We are very lucky to
be there.”
As for the whole “staycation”
concept, there are a bunch
of intriguing, off-the-beaten
tracks to choose from, such
as “Ride the Roller Coaster of
Love,” “Outer Space Zombie
Adventure,” “In Someone Else’s
Shoes,” and “Literary Lane,”
where you’ll meet the likes of
Melville, Ginsberg, and Poe.
There’s even one staycation
called “Dude Ranch,” which
Holy describes as “shows guys
will like, though not necessarily
straight guys.”
And of course, there’s the
timely “Wall Street Walking
Tour,” which features such
shows as “Love Money: A Reces-
sion Rock Musical,” “How Now
Dow Jones,” and “The Check
is In the Mail,” a black comedy
about corporate greed, mega-
bonuses, and the lengths people
go to screw the competition.
So, in a season of skimping,
is the Fringe willing to compro-
mise on quality or character?
Not yet.
“Unlike some other festivals
I won’t name, we have resisted
the temptation to be ‘Celebrity
Fringe’ and court Broadway
stars,” Lasko explained. “Having
a big star doesn’t always make
it good. We are experimental
and character-driven, not celeb-
rity or set-driven. Our audience
expects provocative theater, not
polish. Our shows are like gems
in the rough that need to be cut
and cleaned up before they can
be turned into rings.”
Lasko is proud that they’ve
avoided taking on a bunch of
small sponsors, common in the
festival world. “We also resist
being ‘Sponsorfest.’ A logo soup
on our promotional materials
might cheapen the festival and
unfairly raise expectations.”
After a pause, he added,
only half-jokingly, “Then again,
if American Airlines offers to
donate a million dollars to slap
their name on FringeNYC,
that’s another story. We can be
bought.”
Michael Phillis in “Dolls.”
M
E
G
M
E
S
S
IN
A

FRINGENYC
Aug.14-30
Various Downtown venues
$15
Visit fringenyc.org for
a complete schedule
Or FringeCentral
54 Crosby St, btwn.
Spring & Broome Sts.
Joel T. Bauer, Kristen-Alexander Griffith, Nic Cory, and David A. Rudd in “The Boys Upstairs.”
S
A
M
A
N
T
H
A
S
O
U
Z
A
᭤ CHEAP THRILLS, continued on p.26
6 - 19
AUG
2009
14 DAYS
14 NIGHTS
᭤ AUG 10, continued on p.24
᭤ AUG 9, from p.15
to your brunch today. The special quar-
tet for today includes Debra Kreisberg
on clarinet and alto sax; David Hofstra on
bass and tuba, Isle of Klezbos leader Eve
Sicular on drums, and guest accordionist
Patrick Farrell. City Winery, 155 Varick
St., btwn. Vandam & Spring Sts., 11
a.m.-2 p.m. Brunch seating begins at 10
a.m. Tickets are $10 with no food minimum.
Children under 13 have no cover charge. For
reservations, call 212-608-0555
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
COMEDY
Hava Laugh
The Chosen Tribe turns it out tonight
at Brad Loekle’s “Electro Shock Therapy
Comedy Hour.” Loeckle welcomes the
funniest Jews in town — Ophira Eisen-
berg (Comedy Central), Hilary Schwartz;
and Danny Siegel (“Gossip Girl”). Ther-
apy, 348 W. 52nd St., 10 p.m. There is
no cover charge, and the cosmos are $6
all night.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
NIGHLIFE
Rough Trade
Waters
On the Hudson River’s high-spirited
seas, DJ Johnny Dynell and his XXX
Dancers offer up a cavalcade of perver-
sions, including a live demonstration of
the Real Touch sex toy, undie giveaways
from Freshpair.com, and Dirtyboyvideo
giveaways all night. The upstairs show
stars Bianca Del Rio. There’s also a free
buffet dinner. Queen of Hearts, Pier
40, Hudson River at Houston St.,
boat boards beginning at 6 p.m.,
leaves at 7:30 sharp, and returns at
10 p.m. Tickets are $22 in advance at
seatea.com.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
MON.AUG.10
HISTORY
The Gay Ghetto &
Its Policing
This summer’s “Sex & the City” semi-
nar series from CUNY’s Center for Les-
bian & Gay Studies (CLAGS), focusing on
the policing of sex from Progressive-era
anti-vice campaigns to contemporary
quality-of-life policies and their effects
on gay demographics in urban areas,
concludes tonight. Christina B. Hanhardt,
of the LGBT Studies Program at the Uni-
versity of Maryland, facilitates, and the
Tradition-Bound
Abdullah Oguz’s visually stunning study of Turkish sexual politics mesmerizes
22/ Film
GARY M. KRAMER
“B
liss” may be an iron-
ic title for a film that
opens with a female
shepherd recovering from the
aftermath of a rape. Yet this
absorbing and exquisitely
filmed morality play — based on
the novel “Mutluluk,” by Zülfü
Livaneli, who also composed the
film’s music — operates on the
theme that no one is who they
seem to be.
Meryem (Özgü Namal) has
been left for dead after being
sexually attacked. Imprisoned,
she insists that she did nothing
wrong, and yet refuses to reveal
the identity of her rapist. In the
Turkish villagers’ eyes, Meryem
is shameful, and according to
custom, must die. But Meryem
refuses to hang herself, so the
village leader, Ali Riza (Mustafa
Avkiran), asks his son, Celan
(Murat Han), to escort her to
Istanbul and make sure she is
killed. He cannot return to the
village until this is done.
Celan, a handsome soldier
returning from war, is used
to taking orders and duti-
fully accepts the job. Once in
Istanbul, he meets up with his
estranged brother, Yakup (Erol
Babaoglu), who tells him that
this village custom is barbaric
and that Celan should think for
himself. At a critical moment,
when Meryem is blindfolded and
facing certain death, Celan res-
cues her, and they flee to safety
at a fish farm in a remote cove.
“Bliss” adroitly chronicles
how Meryem and Celan adapt
to their new lives, even as they
are both haunted by demons.
Celan has nightmares about
the war he has seen, but he is
also bewitched by Meryem, and
has an intense, sexually-tinged
dream about her one night dur-
ing a portentous thunderstorm.
In contrast, Meryem is a woman
who believes she is pure and is
determined to live on her own
terms now that she has been
given a second chance.
The bond that devel ops
between the two takes a curious
turn when Irfan (Talat Bulut), a
professor, arrives on his boat
and Celan and Meryem reluc-
tantly agree to his offer to take
them on as his crew. Mean-
while, Ali Riza has sent his men
to find the escaped pair and
bring them to justice for their
crimes.
While “Bliss” has elements of
both a thriller and a love story,
it works mainly as a charac-
ter study. The chase scenes,
while artfully done, feel a bit
forced, and they climax hastily.
At least director Abdullah Oguz
edits these action scenes for
maximum impact. Likewise, the
romance that develops between
Celan and Meryem seems a
bit contrived, with him falling
under her spell quite suddenly.
Yet these narrative strands
are not the true focus of the
film. The story here is more
about the ethical riddles of right
and wrong. What is most satis-
fying about “Bliss” is how every-
one gets what they deserve. The
ending, in which a character
acts responsibly after the truth
behind the rape comes to light,
is especially gratifying.
The film is at its best when
the central characters reveal
themselves to each other; they
grow from their interactions.
A scene in which Celan and
Irfan get drunk is telling; both
have arrived at this juncture in
their lives because, they say,
“circumstances demand.” As
Celan’s decision not to exact
Meryem’s punishment prompts
him to acknowledge his growing
desire for her, he feels jealousy
about Irfan’s fatherly attentions
toward the young girl. In con-
trast, Irfan’s past comes back
in the form of his wife, who con-
fronts him with his own bad
behavior. The parallels and ten-
sions between these two men
are effective and affecting.
At times, however, the screen-
play, co-written by Oguz, is a bit
didactic. When Irfan teaches
Meryem how to tie a rope knot
so it is secure, he uses the
clunky symbol to advise her
that people are like knots. The
rope also triggers memories of
her refusal to hang herself back
home, further emphasizing the
obvious.
The story’s themes are far
better advanced through the
filmmaker’s outstanding ability
to frame his scenes; his com-
positions are simply masterful.
From the village landscapes to a
maze of stairs, as well as the fish
farm and the claustrophobic
boat, contrasted with the open
water, the visuals provide cues
for the characters’ emotions.
The cinematography by Mirsad
Herovic is truly breathtaking.
The performances also ele-
vate “Bliss” from the plateau of
conventional melodrama. Özgü
Namal makes Meryem’s inter-
nal struggle quite palpable, and
Talat Bulut lends fine support
as Irfan. But the most compel-
ling performance is Murat Han’s
turn as Cemal. Making his film
debut here, Han proves himself
to be a most magnetic actor.
Cemal undergoes the story’s
greatest transformation, and
Han makes it entirely convinc-
ing.
“Bliss” addresses weighty
issues, and it is so expertly
crafted the result is transcen-
dent.
Talat Bulut, Özgü Namal, and Murat Han in Abdullah Oguz’s “Bliss.”
F
IR
S
T
R
U
N
F
E
A
T
U
R
E
S
BLISS
Directed by Abdullah Oguz
First Run Features
Opens Aug. 7
Cinema Village, 22 E. 12th St.
cinemavillage.com
While “Bliss” has elements of both
a thriller and a love story, it works
mainly as a character study.
WWW.GAYCITYNEWS.COM
23
6 – 19 AUG 2009
insists that “Bandslam” is not a “gay”
film. “There is no gay subtext for Will as a
character in the movie,” he said. Yet the
writer/director acknowledged, “There is
an overlap between adolescent feelings
of social rejection and the questioning of
gay kids and outcasts for other reasons.
When you feel you don’t fit in, you don’t
fit in.”
The filmmaker used his real life expe-
riences to create “Camp,” but deliberately
steered away from making “art from his
life” with “Bandslam.” “In this one, I’m
processing my rock star fantasies when I
was a kid,” he explained. “I’ve never out-
grown them.”
One way Graff recreates his dreams of
being a musician is to stage a key scene of
“Bandslam” at his old stomping ground,
CBGB’s. Given the shuttered landmark
club’s morphing into a clothing store, he
had to build its façade in Austin, Texas,
where the film was shot, and create an
exact replica of the run-down interior.
Graff also realized a fantasy from his
musician days by getting Bowie himself
to appear in a cameo. So how did Graff
direct the Thin White Duke? “I was told
I was not allowed to,” he recalled. “He
doesn’t like that, they said. And I thought,
‘Is he really going to be a dick?’” Pausing
for dramatic effect, Graff gushed, “And he
was like the greatest guy ever!”
The filmmaker was almost embar-
rassed to admit having a chip on his
shoulder as he faced a close-up, or rather
an up-close, with the rock icon. Still, Graff
said, on some matters, Bowie insisted on
having his way. While shooting a scene
in June, Bowie was wearing a coat, so “I
asked David, ‘Can we lose the coat?,’ and
he said, ‘No –– it’s an attitude!’”
Bowie acts as a father figure of sorts
to Will in “Bandslam,” and many of the
other characters suffer the burden of
having “absent fathers” as well. Signifi-
cantly, Graff dedicates the film to his own
dad, who passed away at age 88 during
the shooting. Graff is surprisingly can-
did about his complex feelings toward his
father.
“We had a close, but difficult relation-
ship,” he said. “We were very much in
each other’s lives, even though there were
real problems. He had many wonderful
qualities but they were trumped by his
narcissism. It never faded but got worse.”
Graff talked about his father coming
out at age 80. This, the filmmaker said,
“was a seismic blast for my family. The
key thing about my life is my relation-
ship with my dad and his sexuality. To
have someone acting out the acceptance
of being gay through his son –– it was a
springboard to face his own sexuality.”
The filmmaker’s own coming out was
a process that occurred over time. “When
I was in college, I had an affair with an
apartment mate,” he said. “Then I went
out with a girl. Then, down the road, I had
an affair with a guy. We broke up and I
had an affair with a girl. I wasn’t exclusive
until I met my partner of 14 years in my
early 30s.”
Given that Graff draws on his life so
much in his work, will he make a coming
out film in the future? “I have no master
plan,” he responded. “I’m out, and every-
one knows me professionally. I’m a pro-
ponent of gay coming out stories, even if
they aren’t fashionable. The feelings they
bring up resonate fairly widely,”
Graff hopes “Bandslam” will reverber-
ate with audiences and continue to raise
his profile in Hollywood. Though the
film is teen-oriented –– with Vanessa
Hudgens of “High School Musical” fame
in a featured role –– the writer/ direc-
tor thinks that audiences who enjoyed
films like “Say Anything” and “Almost
Famous” will respond to “Bandslam.”
“Before I saw it, it was not something
I’d cross the street to see,” Graff con-
fessed. But, he insisted, “this movie was
made for people like me.” Audiences gay
and straight, young and old, should also
embrace his warm and winning music-
filled film.
Despite the emphasis on dialogue,
“Beeswax” isn’t just an extended gab-
fest. Bujalski’s eye for visual style has
steadily been improving. Unlike most
of the low-budget directors of his gen-
eration, he remains loyal to celluloid;
instead of DV, “Beeswax” was shot in
16mm and transferred to 35mm for
commercial exhibition. Its use of color
is striking and expressive. Storyville
is carefully designed as a space clut-
tered with knick-knacks, but it is rarely
shown in close-ups –– which Bujalski
generally avoids –– so one comes away
with a fairly vague sense of what it might
look like walking through it. It remains
mysterious and enticing. Bujalski also
cuts scenes at abrupt moments, giving
the film an unusual rhythm.
Bujalski started off making films
about people in their early 20s trying to
figure out what it means to be an adult.
The characters of “Beeswax” have settled
into adult responsibilities and struggle
desperately within their confines. If this
is Bujalski’s most mature film, it speaks
volumes about the difficulties of growing
up, including the challenges he himself
has faced. His characters rely mostly on
language to fend for themselves in a hos-
tile world, but the filmmaker has finally
opened up his palette to all the possibili-
ties of style. Despite all the anxiety on-
screen, the result is exhilarating.
᭤ BEESWAX, from p.20
᭤ BANDSLAM, from p.20
Loretta Weinberg of Teaneck, in
Bergen County, as his running mate
in the November election.
“Lor et t a i s t he ar chi t ect
of every LGBT civil rights law
enacted in New Jersey since she
entered the Legislature in 1993,
including our state’s domestic
partnership and civil union laws,
and our anti-discrimination, hate
crimes, and school bullying laws
that encompass sexual orienta-
tion, gender identity, and gen-
der expression,” Steven Gold-
stein, the group’s chair, said in
a written statement. “She is the
prime sponsor of the marriage
equal i ty bi l l now before the
State Legislature.”
GSE has voiced confidence
that the votes are there to pass
the marriage bill, and Corzine, a
Democrat, has pledged to sign
it, though no action in Trenton
is expected before November.
Corzine has trailed his Repub-
l i can opponent, Chri stopher
J. Chri sti e, a former federal
prosecutor, by double digits in
some recent polls. Christie has
said he is opposed to marriage
equality.
Goldstein’s statement noted
that his group’s highest award
is named the Loretta Weinberg
Prize for Lifetime Achievement.
The New York Times, on July
25, reported that some leading
Democrats in New Jersey, con-
cerned about Corzine’s weak poll-
ing numbers, are considering a
push to replace him on the ballot.
Gay Canadian
Boxer Mark
Leduc Dead at
47
Mar k Leduc, a Canadi an
Olympic light welterweight boxer
who won the Silver Medal at the
1992 Barcelona Games and came
out in the mid-1990s after his
retirement from the sport, died in
St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto
on Jul y 22. He was 47. The
Toronto Star reports that he was
found in a hotel sauna early on
the morning of July 19, and is
believed to have suffered a heat
stroke that damaged his internal
organs. The newspaper reported
that after a troubled youth in
which he spent time in jail, he
became a born-again Christian
and found success in boxing.
Af t er comi ng out , he di d
volunteer work for the Toronto
People with AIDS Foundation,
and appeared in a 1994 gay rights
documentary “For the Love of the
Game.” Although the Founda-
tion’s executive director, Murray
Jose, told the Star that Leduc’s
rol e hel ped ease the sti gma
toward HIV in Canada, the news-
paper reported that some parents
took their children out of a gym he
started when news of his homo-
sexuality became public.
A funeral was planned for
Toronto’s Metropolitan Communi-
ty Church, an LGBT congregation.
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᭤ BRIEFS, from p.19
gaycitynews.com
6 - 19
AUG
2009
14 DAYS
14 NIGHTS
᭤ 14 DAYS, continued on p.26
᭤ AUG 10, from p.22
reading list is drawn from key scholars
in the field. LGBT Community Center,
208 W. 13th St., room 101, 6-8 p.m. For
complete information, contact clags@
gc.cuny.edu.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
CABARET
Song For A Cure
Scott Nevins’ “Curtain Call” tonight
presents “Cabaret Cares 4,” a benefit
for Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS.
Guest host Emily McNamara welcomes
Broadway singer Natalie Toro. Splash
Bar, 50 W. 17th St., 11:30 p.m. Admis-
sion is free until 10 p.m.; $5 after that.
You must be 21.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
WED.AUG.12
NIGHTLIFE
This Bike Brakes
for Porn
In the third of four weeks celebrating
and raising funds for Braking the Cycle,
the Boston-New York bike ride that raises
funds for the LGBT Community Center’s
AIDS services programs (brakingthecycle.
org), Will Clark’s Porno Bingo welcomes
newcomer Colin Steele, whose recent
work for Titan is getting great word of
mouth from fans everywhere. Come meet
a rising star. In the past five years, Porno
Bingo has raise more than $90,000 for
LGBT charities in New York. Pieces, 8
Christopher St. at Sixth Ave., 8-10 p.m.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
FRI.AUG.14
AT THE BEACH
Snow Day in
August
For one night only, Fire Island’s Cherry
Grove becomes a winter wonderland, just
in time for the Snow Ball, featuring five fur-
clad go-go ski bunnies, Bianca del Rio and
Violet Temper as the Dueling Snow Queens,
and a real snowstorm at 1 a.m. Mandatory
clothes-check. DJ Josh Sparber spins cold-
as-ice tracks, and Freshpair.com gives out
pairs of undies for the first 75 guys to arrive.
The late night show in the “backstage erotic
cabaret” should take the chill off this yearly
underwear event. Ice Palace, Cherry
Grove. There’s an 11:30 large water taxi
from the Pines to the Grove to accom-
modate the crowds. Admission is $10.
“Les Huguenots” Resurrected
Leon Botstein gambles with long-neglected Meyerbeer grand opera
24/ Opera
BY ELI JACOBSON
M
usical popularity is a
fickle mistress. Works
that in the lifetime of
their composers were enormous
successes can be discarded as
antiquated trash by succeeding
generations. A piece of tuneful
comic tomfoolery turned out on
the quick can brave the centu-
ries and never leave the reper-
tory. After 1,000 performances
at the Paris Opera, history left
Meyerbeer’s “Les Huguenots” in
obscurity, with only a handful of
vocal solos and duets to keep its
name alive. Meanwhile the less
pretentious comedic charms of
Donizetti’s “L’Elisir D’Amore”
have always found favor with
audiences old and new.
Meyerbeer’s five-act grand
opera of 1836 had not been
staged in New York since the
Met last performed it in 1915,
though it has been done in con-
cert twice. Like Halevy’s “La
Juive,” it is a work created by
Jews about Christians behav-
ing badly. As Christians — and
fanatics of all religious persua-
sions — persist in their bad
behavior, the work’s theme of
religious intolerance and sec-
tarian violence should never
grow stale. Changing musi-
cal fashions, critical dispar-
agement, and the enormous
demands required, both scenic
and vocal, have left impresa-
rios skeptical whether the piece
would repay the enormous cost
and difficulty of presenting
it. The intrepid Leon Botstein
decided to stage this opera as
part of the Bard Summerscape
Festival.
Faced with the Fisher Cen-
ter’s shallow limited stage and
without the budget to hire
international stars, Botstein
sought lighter-voiced young
singers and a resourceful young
director, while he lavished his
experience preparing a faithful
musical presentation of a full
edition with only slight internal
cuts. Thaddeus Strassberger,
a young American director
with a burgeoning European
career, provided an ambitious,
often imaginative but ultimately
unsuccessful staging. Sets were
stylized and non-specific, using
choral groupings to delineate
space. Costumes were a styl-
ized mishmash with period sil-
houettes for the women that
suggested the 18th century,
while the men wore stream-
lined tunics that suggested the
17th century cavalier period —
in a story set in the year 1572.
Sometimes simple imagery —
the long white scarf that blind-
folds Raoul during his interview
with the Queen or the golden
throne set above the stage in a
suspended box — were poetic
and evocative. However, Act III,
set on the banks of the Seine,
looked to be taking place under
an elevated subway platform.
Strassberger then began to
go for shock effects — Catho-
lic priests raping Protestant
women in the final scene of car-
nage, the mock crucifixion of a
Protestant captive during the
benediction of the swords, and
Valentine stripping and offer-
ing her body to Raoul to stop
him from joining the Protes-
tant martyrs. In attempting to
bypass scenic effects that went
beyond the design budget or the
technical capacity of the stage,
the director called upon flashy
Regietheater clichés that under-
mined some valid ideas.
Luckily, the singers were bet-
ter equipped to do justice to
Meyerbeer’s conception. The
two most consistently impres-
sive singers were the highest
and lowest voices — colora-
tura soprano Erin Morley as
Marguerite de Valois and bass
Peter Volpe as the crusty but
loyal Protestant retainer Marcel.
Morley’s voice had rich luster
in the aria “O Beau Pays” and
could knock out the staccati in
the cabaletta. Volpe’s rich roll-
ing basso was the only really
heroic sound, and his imposing
stage presence compelled the
audience’s attention. Baritone
Andrew Schroeder sang with
velvet tone and incisive verbal
delivery as the Catholic noble-
man turned renegade Comte
de Nevers. Marie Lenormand,
a mezzo, got both of Urbain’s
arias, which she performed with
swagger if not the most gor-
geous timbre.
As the ill-fated Romeo and
Juliet lovers Raoul and Valen-
tine, young lyric tenor Michael
Spyres and soprano Alexandra
Deshorties contended unevenly
with strenuously demanding
roles. The tenor, currently sing-
ing light Mozart and Rossini
parts, had a soft lyric timbre
and a fine sense of the style —
he attacked most high notes
softly in a mixed head voice
in the proper French manner.
However, the heroic phrases
pressed his resources to their
limit. Spyres’ floating rapt
delivery of “Tu l’as dit” in the
great Act IV love duet and his
dramatic solo in Act V put all
reservations aside — often he
reminded me of a young Alain
Vanzo. Deshorties is a superb
musician and native linguist,
but the voice will not take
pressure at either end — the
tone turned hollow and edgy
too often for aural comfort. An
impressively tall and strikingly
attractive woman, she does not
seem to know how to move or
wear costumes onstage, and
her acting came off as gauche
and uninvolving.
Botstein’s conducting reveled
in the rich contrasts, stylistic
variety, imaginative orchestra-
tion, and sophisticated coun-
terpoint of the score. The opera
came off as stageworthy with
a great deal of glorious music,
even if the “effects without
causes” — Wagner’s description
of Meyerbeer’s love of theatrical
artifice — made it seem a series
of brilliant set pieces with little
internal cohesion. One heard
familiar ideas from many other
operas from composers of other
lands and times — but then one
remembered that Meyerbeer
did it first and set the course for
them to follow.
D
oni zet t i ’ s “ L’ El i si r
D’Amore” is hardly a
stranger to local and
worldwide stages — I saw it
three times at the Met this past
season. The Caramoor Festival
utilized a new Ricordi critical
edition in a concert reading on
July 18 that had more charm
and musical delicacy than any-
thing the Met has offered in
recent memory. The chamber
orchestra under Will Crutch-
field lovingly revealed details in
a reading of transparent clarity
and freshness where the grand-
er Met orchestra sawed away in
routine mechanical boredom.
Lawrence Brownlee in a role
debut as Nemorino sang with
appealing forthrightness and
tonal roundness; his rhythmic
acuity and technical brilliance
made him seem too bright and
commanding for the village
simpleton. However, the sweet-
ness of his tone mitigated that
impression, and his embellish-
ments to “Una Furtiva Lagrima,”
taken from Donizetti’s nota-
tions, were stylishly rendered.
Georgia Jarman’s quicksilver
tone kept Adina’s cruelty light
and mocking rather than shrew-
ish or harsh. Critical scholarship
yielded a new version of her final
aria, “Prendi per me sei libero,”
fashioned for Giulia Grisi. I like
the aching lyricism of the origi-
nal aria better, but the rollick-
ing coruscating brilliance of the
unfamiliar cabaletta Donizetti
fashioned for Fanny Persiani (the
first Lucia) was a scintillating
find. Marco Nistico was a drolly
cynical Dr. Dulcamara; his native
Italian linguistic facility enriched
the proceedings. Markus Beam,
with a limited baritone with top
problems, nevertheless had the
agility to make the most of Bel-
core’s pompous strutting.
The clear summer night illu-
minated by visiting fireflies pro-
vided the perfect setting for an
evening of joyful music-making.
In Bard Summerscape Festival’s production
of Meyerbeer’s “Les Huguenots,” bass Peter
Volpe produced the only really heroic sound.
D
A
R
IO
A
C
O
S
T
A
WWW.GAYCITYNEWS.COM
25
6 – 19 AUG 2009
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OUR OFFICIAL TRAVEL

& TOURISM PARTNER
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Make your reservations now online at
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Circle Line Downtown
Thursday Happy Hour
on the Harbor
Live DJ, drink specials, and giveaways.
Friday DJ
Sunset Cruise
Some of today’s hottest DJs spin.
Saturday
Night
Dance Cruise
With rotating theme
music nights.
New York Water Taxi
Sunset Cruise
The breathtaking NYC skyline
at sunset. Experience a 90-minute
cruise enjoying the Statue of Liberty,
the Brooklyn Bridge and lower
Manhattan at dusk.
Statue of Liberty
Night Tour
Create memories that
last a lifetime. Get up close
and personal with the
Lady in the Harbor on this
one-of-a-kindnight tour.
6 - 19
AUG
2009
14 DAYS
14 NIGHTS
᭤ AUG 16, continued on p.28
᭤ 14 DAYS, from p.24
SAT.AUG.15
COMMUNITY
The Lesbian Widow
Clinical social worker Lori Hannibal,
with 22 years of experience in fam-
ily, adolescent, and children services,
offers a workshop for lesbians hoping
to reclaim intimacy in their lives after
the death of their partner. With the
help of visualizations, Hannibal will
assist participants in creating an envi-
ronment of safety and coming to terms
with the loss of physical and emotional
intimacy. LGBT Community Center,
208 W. 13th St., 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Admission is $20. For more informa-
tion, phone 516-208-7095.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
NIGHLIFE
August Barn Dance
Celebrating its 25th anniversary,
t he LGBT Ti mes Squar es Squar e
Dance Club hosts an August Barn
Dance, where even the uninitiated
can feel at home with quick instruc-
tion in Western square-dancing with
award-winning caller Betsy Gotta.
Come alone or bring your own part-
ner. And make sure to dress comfort-
ably — you’ll be moving all evening.
LGBT Community Center, 208 W.
13th St., 8-11:30 p.m. Admission is
free. For more information about the
group, visit timessquares.org.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
SUN.AUG.16
NIGHTLIFE
Everybody Get
Together
Men of All Colors Together hosts
a gay old time tonight with a Hudson
River sea tea cruise that includes a
buffet dinner, a live show, and the
music of DJ Mark Ciciero. Queen of
Hearts, Pier 40, Hudson River at
Houston St., boat boards beginning
at 6 p.m., leaves at 7:00 sharp, and
returns at 10 p.m. Tickets are $20 and
must be purchased in advance. You can
pay via check or money order, payable
to MACT/NY, no later than Aug. 8, by
mailing: MACT/ NY, PO Box 237107,
Ansonia Station, New York 10023.
You can also order tickets with a credit
card by emailing mactnycochair@aol.
Coming Up Short
In 90-minute “Vanities,” 80-minute “Wildflower,” only the actors deliver
26/ Theater
BEST BETS AT FRINGENYC
A sampling of the most prom-
ising plays that explore gay
themes:
38 WI TNESSED HER
DEATH, I WITNESSED HER
LOVE: THE LONELY SECRET
OF MARY ANN ZIELONKO
(KITTY GENOVESE STORY)
The title pretty much says it
all. Except that instead of going
the usual comic route taken by
other overlong-titled Fringe fare,
this is a thoughtful, provocative
meditation on one of the best
kept secrets in one of the most
high-profile crimes ever, one
that many Americans believed
heralded the death of the urban
community. Inspired by actu-
al events, performance artist
LuLu Lolo alternately portrays
Kitty’s lover, a New York Times
editor, and the killer. (Robert
Moss Theater, 440 Lafayette St.,
btwn. Astor Pl. & E. Fourth St.,
3rd fl., Aug. 14 at 7 p.m.; Aug.
15 at 5:30 p.m.; Aug. 16 at 2
p.m.; Aug. 18 at 4 & 9:45 p.m.)
ABRAHAM LI NCOLN’ S
BIG GAY DANCE PARTY This
campy, interactive, socio-polit-
ical thriller mixed with “bur-
lesque anarchy” comes with a
track record, garnering raves
when staged by the esteemed
San Francisco Playhouse last
year. When a teacher dares to
question Lincoln’s sexuality,
a trial ensues. Each night, the
audience gets to vote to deter-
mine the order of the show’s
three acts. Think “Rashomon”
meets “Law and Order” as seen
on the History Channel. (HERE
Arts Center, Mainstage Theater,
145 Sixth Ave., enter on Domin-
ick St., one block s. of Spring
St., Aug. 18 at 9:30 p.m.; Aug.
19 at 4 p.m.; Aug. 22 at noon;
Aug. 23 at 3:45 p.m.; Aug. 29 at
7:15 p.m.)
HIS GREATNESS Award win-
ning playwright Daniel MacIvor
(“Never Swim Alone,” “In On It”)
is back, this time with a “poten-
tially true story” chronicling
BY CHRISTOPHER BYRNE
J
ack Heifner’s 1976 Off-
Broadway hit “Vanities”
was always sort of theat-
rical easy listening. At the time,
it purported to dive into issues
facing contemporary women
by tracking the stories of three
of them from a high school
pep rally in 1959 through the
1960s and into the newly liber-
ated 1970s. Questions about
following the Eisenhower-era
wife-and-mommy track, becom-
ing sexually liberated, and/or
making it solo in the world still
burned red-hot, so the play reso-
nated with audiences. Because
it traded in stock situations,
conventional roles, and predict-
able outcomes, the play brought
coziness to complex issues and
ran for a comfortable 1,700-plus
performances.
Three decades later, one would
think that this show would be
allowed to fade into obscurity; it
reads like a museum piece, with
nostalgia its primary appeal. The
world has left these characters
behind as real women have con-
tinued to redefine themselves in
a changing world, while produc-
tions such as David Cromer’s
magnificent “Our Town” demon-
strate that nostalgia alone is not
what defines compelling revivals
of work that might otherwise
prove outdated.
Given all this, what possessed
Heifner to try to resuscitate
the play as a musical boggles
the mind. It’s a new musical to
be sure, but its dated material
makes it feel like a revival. Worse
yet, Heifner felt it necessary to
add a final scene in which the
women reconnect as “sistahs”
after time has inevitably pulled
them apart. What was bitter-
sweet in the original has become
saccharine and unbelievable in
the musical.
The score by David Kirshen-
baum doesn’t do much to help.
It’s hard to tell whether it’s pas-
tiche or merely derivative, with
echoes of Burt Bacharach and
lesser musicals of the 1970s.
Each of the women gets a star
turn, but the songs do little to
illuminate character and, though
they are pleasant enough, are
ultimately forgotten by the time
you hit the street.
Judith Ivey’s direction is per-
functory and uninspired, never
really delving into what animates
these characters, and most of
the production elements don’t
work well or easily. In particular,
the odd choice was made to have
the actresses change in and out
of Joseph G. Aulisi’s unwieldy
and unflattering costumes right
in front of us.
The saving grace of this
production are the three fine
actresses who give their all to
this show. Lauren Kennedy,
Sarah Stiles, and Anneliese van
der Pol are strong singers with
lots of charisma, and each is
sufficiently idiosyncratic to be
charming. They rally all their
talents to this effort, but since
the whole undertaking lacks the
appropriate pep, their work is
largely in vain.
T
he kindest thing one
can say about Lila Rose
Kaplan’s new play “Wild-
flower” is that it is undevel-
oped. Clocking in at 80-min-
utes, Kaplan has crammed in
so many plot points that none
makes any more organic sense
than the motivations of the char-
acters who overstuff her slight
construct.
Erica is escaping from her
marriage and takes along her
smart but emotionally chal-
lenged son, Randolph. Landing
in a guesthouse in Crested Butte
run by Mitchell, an ex-drag
queen, Erica takes a job selling
trinkets and answering the wild-
flower hotline in a general store
run by 16-year-old Astor, and
starts to date James, a randy
forest ranger with a womanizing
past. Meanwhile, Astor moves to
enroll Randolph in helping her to
lose her virginity before she goes
to college. James looks to Mitch-
ell for advice, and Mitchell has
a secret. Somehow, it’s all sup-
posed to interconnect.
The company is actually pret-
ty good and does its best to make
sense of the story. In particular,
Renée Felice Smith is bright and
edgy as Astor. Jack O’Connor as
Randolph has a quirky appeal,
and Ron Cephas Jones is warm
and comforting as the worldly-
wise Mitchell.
Despite some funny lines and
appealing actors, however, the
scenes chug along and then stop
when Kaplan runs out of steam
or writes herself into a corner.
She tries hard to connect all the
dots, but ultimately leaves her
characters trapped with no logi-
cal ways out. We know how they
must feel.
᭤ CHEAP THRILLS, from p.21
᭤ CHEAP THRILLS, continued on p.27
Ron Cephas Jones as former drag queen Mitchell and Jake O’Connor as emotionally challenged
Randolph in Lila Rose Kaplan’s “Wildflower.”
C
A
R
O
L
R
O
S
E
G
G
VANITIES
Second Stage Theatre
307 W. 43rd St.
Tue. at 7 p.m.; Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m.;
Wed., Sat. at 2 p.m.; Sun. at 3 p.m.
$79; 212 246-4422
WILDFLOWER
McGinn/ Cazale Theater
2162 Broadway, btwn. 76th & 77th Sts.
Tue.-Sat. at 7:30 p.m.; Wed.,
Sat. at 2 p.m.
$20-$50; 212 246-4422
WWW.GAYCITYNEWS.COM
27
6 – 19 AUG 2009
two days in the life of a past-his-prime
Tennessee Williams. It’s a glimpse of a
three-way between the depressive, alco-
hol-soaked author, his jilted assistant,
and a strapping street hustler, as Wil-
liams glimpses his glory days in the dust
behind him. (The Cherry Pit, 155 Bank
St., btwn. West & Washington Sts., Aug.
17 at 10 p.m.; Aug. 22 at 7 p.m.; Aug. 24
at 7 p.m.; Aug. 27 at 3:45 p.m.; Aug. 29
at noon.)
TEAROOM TANGO Okay, there’s
always at least one gay play that warns
(read: boasts) that it “Contains nudity
and explicit themes. For mature audi-
ences only.” And this may be the raci-
est one this year. Based on the author’s
own nefarious exploits in public toi-
lets, this portrayal of man-on-man
sex, addiction, and shame promises
to be heart-wrenching, building to an
“unforgettable climax.” Features author
Douglas Holtz, of “Walmartopia” fame.
Bring plenty of, er, tissues. (The SoHo
Playhouse, 15 Vandam St., btwn. Sixth
Ave. & Varick St., Aug. 21 at 7:45 p.m.;
Aug. 23 at 5:30 p.m.; Aug. 25 at 3:45
p.m.; Aug. 27 at 9:45 p.m.; Aug. 28 at
2:30 p.m.)
DEATHWATCH Jean Genet, the self-
destructive French author of “Querelle”
and infamous queer convict, knew a
thing or two about the sexual politics of
prison, and this 1947 play proves it. The
unapologetic story centers on a heart-
less killer who shares a cell with two
men — one who idolizes him, the other
who’s in love with him. But if you expect
testosterone-drenched shower scenes,
beware — the cast is comprised of female
actors. Translated by Obie-winner David
Rudkin. (The Cherry Pit, 155 Bank St.,
btwn. West & Washington Sts., Aug 14
at 5 p.m.; Aug. 25 at 10 p.m.; Aug. 26 at
3:15 p.m.; Aug. 28 at 10 p.m.; Aug. 29 at
12:45 p.m.
DOLLS An openly gay action figure.
A moody porcelain Southern Belle. An
embittered Barbie wannabe. These are
just a few of the characters that make
up Frank’s collection of dolls, who take
turns recounting his life’s story in col-
orful, quirky detail. This “magical” solo
show from Michael Phillis got raves dur-
ing its run in San Francisco, and promis-
es to entrance and astound Fringe-goers
as well. (manhattan theatre source, 177
MacDougal St., between Eight St. &
Waverly Pl., Aug. 15 at 9 p.m.; Aug. 17 at
5:30 p.m.; Aug. 20 at 3 p.m.; Aug. 25 at
7 p.m.; Aug. 29 at 2:15 p.m.)
NOTES ON THE LAND OF EARTH-
QUAKE AND FIRE If this mystery about
a Hollywood studio head who goes miss-
ing, and his assistant who steps in to
manage his affairs, sounds unremark-
able, consider this: the playwright is
GLAAD Media Award winner Jason
Schafer, screenwriter for the indie fave
film “Trick” and Showtime’s “Queer As
Folk.” And the show features actor Chad
Lindsey, that cute Good Samaritan who
made headlines last spring for jumping
onto the subway tracks to save a fallen
passenger. Come see if this selfless stud
truly is your hero. (The Players Theatre,
115 MacDougal St., just south of W.
Third St., Aug. 14 at 9:45 p.m.; Aug. 16
at 1 p.m.; Aug. 19 at 5:30 p.m.; Aug. 24
at 10 p.m.; Aug. 29 at 5:45 pm.)
DEVIL BOYS FROM BEYOND Flying
saucers! Backstabbing bitches! Muscle
hunks and men in pumps! That’s how
MadCap Productions, the demented
minds behind “The Mystery of Irma Vep”
and “Psycho Beach Party,” describe their
campy caper set in Lizard Lick, Florida
in 1957. The cast features the illustri-
ous Everett Quinton, of the legendary
Ridiculous Theatrical Company. (The
Actors’ Playhouse, 100 Seventh Ave. S.,
btwn. Grove & Bleecker Sts., Aug. 23 at
9 p.m.; Aug. 27 at 4:15 p.m.; Aug. 28 at
7:30 p.m.; Aug. 29 at 4 p.m.; Aug. 30 at
noon.)
THE BOYS UPSTAIRS You’re invited
to venture upstairs to visit the fabulous
abode of New York City boys and watch
them navigate the murky morass of
friendship, dating, sex, and, well, more
sex. All from a distinctly gay point of
view. It’s sort of like a “Boys in the Band”
for the 21st century, with less self-loath-
ing and more silliness. (The SoHo Play-
house, 15 Vandam St., btwn. Sixth Ave.
& Varick St., Aug. 15 at 2:30 p.m.; Aug.
16 at 12:30 p.m.; Aug. 18 at 7 p.m.; Aug.
27 at 5 p.m.; Aug. 28 at 7 p.m.)
BARGAINS AND BLOOD Well timed
to help solve the current economic cri-
sis, this campy dark comedy is about
a trailer park Cinderella who becomes
a star on the Home Shopping Network
— never mind that there’s gore galore.
Written and directed by Blair Fell, this
romp aims to be “a Grand-Guignol-feel-
good comedy for the new depression.”
Cheap thrills, indeed! (Dixon Place, 161A
Chrystie St., btwn. Rivington & Delanc-
ey Sts., Aug. 14 @ 9:45 p.m.; Aug. 17 at
7:15 p.m.; Aug. 22 at 2 p.m.; Aug. 27 at
5:15 p.m.; Aug. 30 at 2:30 p.m.)
LOVE MONEY: A RECESSION ROCK
MUSICAL I confess, there’s nary a whiff
of gay content in the promotional blurbs,
but this show gets the award for the most
opportunely titled play in these tough
economic times. A sensation last fall at
Ars Nova Theater, it follows one tough
day in a tenacious temp’s life work-
ing at a sinking Bank of North America.
Besides, what good would a Fringe high-
lights list be without one show that has
“A Musical” in the title? (Dixon Place,
161A Chrystie St., btwn. Rivington &
Delancey Sts., Aug. 25 at 7:30 p.m.; Aug.
26 at 5 p.m.; Aug. 27 at 8 p.m.; Aug. 28
at 10:30 p.m.; Aug. 29 at 5:30 p.m.)
᭤ CHEAP THRILLS, from p.26
Jared Weiss and Paul Pecorino in “Devil Boys from Beyond.”
J
E
F
F
E
A
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O
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28
WWW.GAYCITYNEWS.COM
6 – 19 AUG 2009
14 DAYS
14 NIGHTS
᭤ JUMP, continued on p.28
᭤ AUG 16, from p.26
com. All requests, via mail or email,
should include return mail information,
telephone number, and email address. No
beverages can be brought on board; a cash
bar is available. For complete information,
visit mactny.org.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
TUE.AUG.18
BOOKS
Erotic Art Stripped
Down
Br uno Gmuender Books’ new
anthology of contemporary homoerotic
art, “Stripped, Uncensored,” is both
highly provocative and sensuously
appealing, offering fans of erotic art
with a visual feast of seldom seen, eye-
popping works that promise to mes-
merize. A release garden party tonight
offers attendees an erotic art exhibition
unveiling, refreshments, a signed, lim-
ited-edition piece of art given to each
guest at the door, and three 3 compli-
mentary raffle tickets toward a chance
to win an original art work. LGBT
Community Center, 208 W. 13th St.,
7-10 p.m. Admission is $10 at gaycen-
ter.org or $15 at the door.
✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯ ✯
THU.AUG.20
COMMUNITY
The Urgent Roar of
Youth
The Hear Me Roar! Project uses
artistic expression to raise awareness
about the unique experiences and
needs of queer youth. Sylvia’s Place
is the homeless youth services and
housing program of the Metropolitan
Community Church/ NY. Tonight, activ-
ists Alexis Handwerker and Emanuel
Xavier host a benefit performance for
these groups featuring the poetry and
spoken word art of Xavier, Chip Liv-
ingston, and Simply Rob, performanc-
es by club/electro/punk musicians
Air Kiss on Mars, the percussion and
dance ensemble Segunda Quimbamba,
and Imani Henry, and an appearance
by the Village Voice’s Michael Musto.
Bowery Poetry Club, 308 Bowery,
btwn. Houston & Bleecker Sts.,
6-7: 30 p. m. Suggested mi ni mum
donation is $15.
BY DAVID NOH
O
n August 10, Playwright
Doric Wilson will receive
the Career Achievement
Award for Professional Theatre
from ATHE, the Association for
Theater in Higher Education,
at the Marriott Marquis Hotel,
along with the legendary Judith
Malina, a founder of the Living
Theatre. Wilson, whose TOSOS
theater group has done invalu-
able service to the community
by presenting gay plays, both
new and old, also happens to be
one of Manhattan’s great racon-
teurs, and I love him, though
he never lets me forget I once
mistakenly congratulated him
on his play “T Shirts,” actu-
ally written by Robert Patrick.
He’s a one-man history of the
gay movement in this country,
starting from his childhood in
the ’40s in Kennewick, Wash-
ington.
“My poor mother figured me
out about the same time I fig-
ured me out, at seven,” Wilson
told me. “I didn’t like to shoot or
play sports, but liked music and
drawing. So, when I was about
11, she decided to learn some-
thing about homosexuality. It
was the height of the McCarthy
era, and she drove 40 miles to
Walla Walla, Whitman College,
where, in the library stacks
there, she found one book under
that word. She didn’t check it
out under her name, of course,
but stayed in the stacks reading
the entire thing. It was ‘The Well
of Loneliness.’ By the ’60s, we
talked about it openly, and she
participated in one of the first
Gay Pride Marches.”
Wilson was briefly enrolled
in the drama department of the
University of Washington, where
he became an early gay activist:
“There was a cruising park near-
by, and there was a sniper who
was shooting gay people. I went
into one of the offices and typed
up a flyer warning people, and
started handing it out. My advi-
sor called me in and said, ‘Don’t
bother coming back here.’ And,
of course, two years later, in a
New York gay bar, who tries to
pick me up? That same advisor!
But if they had not thrown me
out, I would not have been here
to walk into the Café Cinno.” At
that fabled theater space, Wil-
son’s plays like “And He Made
a Her” (1961) and his personal
favorite, “Now She Dances!”
(also 1961) helped create Off-Off
Broadway.
The playwright recalled his
first day in New York, checking
into the West Side YMCA and
donning his carefully assem-
bled Noel Coward-ish ensem-
ble of pinstriped three-piece
suit, trenchcoat worn over the
shoulders, silk scarf, paper thin
suede gloves, Ronson lighter,
Benson & Hedges cigarettes:
“Despite coming from a little
ranch town, I already knew all
about Manhattan because of
the gay grapevine, which was
then so good that they used to
say ‘If you farted in New York,
you could smell it in San Fran-
cisco.’ The most pissy of all the
piss-elegant Bird Circuit gay
bars was Le Faisan D’Or, where
CBS is now, on Sixth Avenue.
I sat down on a bar stool and
ordered a brandy and soda like
any Leslie Howard movie, lit my
cigarette, and heard this person
saying, “Blah blah blah, dahl-
ing!’ Without turning around,
I said, ‘That is the worst Tallu-
lah Bankhead impersonation I
have ever heard!’ The real Miss
Bankhead turns and says to
me, ‘Really, dahling? I thought
I had it down by now!’ That was
my first and last day as a piss-
elegant queen, and we stayed
away from midtown Manhat-
tan for about seven years after
that.”
Wilson learned fast and, in
1961, was hired by Edward
Al bee to run the openi ng
night party in his apartment
for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia
Woolf?”: “You could feel in the
audience that this was an
immensely important evening,
everybody on earth was there
– Sophie Tucker! I got into the
limousine to take me down to
the Village and there was a tiny
little man sitting in it. ‘Hello, I’m
Billy Rose!’ [The show opened in
his theater.]
“We get there and everyone
is in a tizzy because they can’t
find the ice. I checked with Ter-
rence McNally, who was Albee’s
boyfriend then, and he said,
‘It’s somewhere here!’ We franti-
cally checked both bathrooms,
which was where you kept ice
in those days. The doorbell
rings and I open it and there
stands one of the goddesses of
my life –– Myrna Loy, with her
husband, this gay Texas multi-
millionaire. I said, ‘Miss Loy, we
can’t find the ice!’ The husband
starts looking, too, and she
goes right into Nora Charles,
checking the living room: ‘No,
it’s not here… hmmm, not here,
either.’ She realized, ‘Forget the
ice — we gotta unwind these
guys,’ and completely defused
our stress by being full-out
delightful Nora Charles. Finally
the husband yells, “We found it!
There’s a third bathroom in the
kitchen!’
“Other memories of that night
— looking to the left and there
was Leonard Bernstein with
Aaron Copland and Virgil Thom-
son, and there’s Jerry Robbins!
Terrence and I did a fireman’s
cross to carry Carson McCullers
up the stairs. People don’t have
that kind of fun anymore.”
Wilson was at Stonewall, but
just as vivid are his memories
of the first Gay Pride March. As
one of the organizers, he got up
early on a very downcast, gray
day and rode the subway down
to the Village. His car was pretty
empty but a young guy got on
and “he sort of looks at me and
I look at him, so he sat next to
me and said, ‘Is anybody there?
Somebody gave me a flyer last
night and I thought maybe I
should do it but don’t want to do
it alone.’ I said, ‘Well, there’s you
and I, so at least there’s two of
us.’ We got down there and there
were like 30 to 40 people, not so
bad. At exactly noon, the clouds
parted and, amazingly, the sun
came out, and we all laughed
–– it was so ’40s movie. Vito
Russo joined me, and by now
there were about 100 people,
and when we crossed Sheridan
Square on Christopher Street,
another 100 people joined us.
That’s when we began chant-
ing, ‘Off the sidewalks and into
the streets!’ We were not sup-
posed to, but by now there were
so many of us, the cops had to
let us do it. We turned up Fifth
Avenue and by now we were
■ IN THE NOH
Gay Man for All Seasons
Doric oracle, Resistance fighters remembered, Brit noir
Doric Wilson will be honored with the Career
Achievement Award for Professional Theatre
from ATHE, the Association for Theater in
Higher Education, on August 10.
E
R
IC
M
A
R
C
U
S
Stine Stengade as Ketty and Thure Lindhardt as Flame in Ole Christian Madsen’s “Flame
and Citron.”
IF
C
F
IIL
M
S
᭤ IN THE NOH, continued on p.29
gaycity
news.com
WWW.GAYCITYNEWS.COM
29
6 – 19 AUG 2009
1800GayLive.com MC 7003 Ent only 18+ *Limited Free Trial Photography by Kevin E. McPherson
Try iI free º CaII nov
646-731-6658
Gay,
Str8,
Bi,
Curious?
almost prancing with excitement –– that
wonderful feeling of ‘I am walking up the
street in broad daylight with a sign over
my head saying “Faggot.”’ And before we
got to 14th Street, Vito looked back and
said, ‘Doric, look!’ And, after all these
years, I cannot tell this without tear-
ing up –– there were about 3,000 people
behind us. And that’s when we became a
community.”
I
f you’re sick of Hogwarts, Transform-
ers, and treacly love stories about
Asperger Syndrome, and want to see
a real movie about something, check out
“Flame and Citron,” Ole Christian Mad-
sen’s account of two Danish Resistance
fighters during World War II (Lincoln
Plaza Cinema, 1886 Broadway, btwn.
62nd & 63rd Sts., lincolnplazacinema.
com; Landmark Sunshine, 143 E. Hous-
ton St., btwn. First & Second Aves.,
landmarktheatres.com). It’s a thrilling
story encompassing war, politics, espio-
nage, and romance that’s as entertain-
ing as “Casablanca,” as well as being
completely true.
“Ever since I was a little boy I was very
interested in the World War II Resistance
movement,” Madsen told me. “My father
was a colonel in the army, and I had a
book about these men, which had pic-
tures of them and a very short description
of their fate, and that always fascinated
me. My co-scriptwriter was also kind of
obsessed with it, and when we couldn’t
get the financing, we kept researching it
during the nine years it took to start the
film. Then the Afghani and Iraq conflicts
came, and these and other contemporary
war situations became very similar to our
story.
“Everything in our film happened as it
was –– I just restructured events and gave
it a film noir feel. We only had to imagine
the affair between Flame (Thure Lind-
hardt) and Ketty (Madsen’s girlfriend,
Stine Stengade), but we know that they
did have an affair in that same hotel.
“Originally, we saw this as small film
about two guys riding around Copenha-
gen in black and white, not so much dia-
logue, only action. But then we found out
that it was an espionage movie, as well,
with Ketty, who was having an affair with
Flame, also with the Gestapo chief, and
before that was with other Resistance
members, as well as being strongly bisex-
ual and having affairs with women. And
she was probably also a Russian spy.”
With a $7.5 million budget, “Flame and
Citron” is the most expensive film ever
made in Denmark, and it has sparked
a new interest in these characters. “I’m
proud of the film,” Madsen said. “Before
this, no one in Denmark really knew
about them. There were only a few stories
and pictures – we had to dig for most of
the details. They were forgotten because I
don’t think they fit into the official version
of how Denmark behaved during World
War II, because we were actually work-
ing with, not against, the Germans. Our
government gave them all our police and
military. Then after the war, we were so
dependent on the Marshall Plan that we
needed to clean our face. So, suddenly,
we were a resistant nation with everybody
fighting against the Germans. But, really,
nobody did –– only like 1,500 people. But
now all the young people want to see the
film, the War Museum is suddenly full of
visitors, and a lot of books have come out
about them.”
F
ilm Forum (filmforum.org) is pro-
viding a haven for intrigue lovers
August 7-September 3 with “Brit
Noir,” a retrospective of largely unknown
gems from the UK. Don’t miss “Blanche
Fury,” one of the most beautiful Techni-
color movies ever, the ultimate high Gothic
thriller with sumptuous Valerie Hobson
and Stewart Granger, the most equine
pair of lovers, snorting and seething lust-
fully at one another; “Victim,” that break-
through study of homosexual blackmail
which helped overturn Britain’s homopho-
bic laws; “The Seventh Veil,” with sadistic
maestro James Mason smashing poor pia-
nist Ann Todd’s fingers with Freudian glee;
“Gaslight,” the intense, original 1940 ver-
sion which makes the glossy Ingrid Berg-
man MGM vehicle pale by comparison; and
“Hatter’s Castle,’ another Gothic whirlwind
featuring a truly terrifying performance by
Robert Newton. The broodingly complex
James Mason, one of the screen’s finest,
is spotlighted here, but you’ll also come to
know a whole gallery of fabulous players ––
porcelain, piercing Diana Wynyard, eerie
Kathleen Byron, pungent Googie Withers,
Diana Dors, Britian’s Monroe, character
gods Herbert Lom and Eric Portman, the
talented young Jean Simmons, and Stan-
ley Baker, as stolid and stalwart as a Limey
flesh-and-blood Dick Tracy.
Contact David Noh at Inthenoh@aol.
com and check out his new blog at http://
nohway.wordpress.com/.
Will sadistic maestro James Mason smash that piano lid
on Ann Todd’s fingers in “The Seventh Veil”? Find out at
Film Forum’s Brit Noir series.
᭤ IN THE NOH, from p.28
30
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6 – 19 AUG 2009
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6 - 19
AUG
2009
Hurts So Good
Tortured teen boys in love is just the beginning
Theater /31
BY DAVID KENNERLEY
M
ost plays bent on exploring com-
ing-out issues are doomed from
the start. After all, the topic has
been mined for decades, virtually stripped
clean, and post-gay types scoff at the
whole notion as quaintly irrelevant. Char-
acters are either derided as tasteless ste-
reotypes or, conversely, not gay enough.
Consider the plot of “Slipping,” the first
play by esteemed actor/director Daniel
Talbot. A sensitive misfit teenage boy who,
after the tragic death of his father, moves
from San Francisco to a bland suburb in
Iowa and falls for a baseball jock in his
new high school. The dude balks at being
open about their bond.
Stomach-churning cliché? Not so fast.
In this taut, uncompromising produc-
tion now playing at the Rattlestick The-
ater, Talbot and director Kirsten Kelly
prove there are still plenty of precious nug-
gets to be found in the coming-out genre.
Forbidden male teen-on-teen attraction
is just the beginning. What the play real-
ly probes is alienation, self-destruction,
embracing new identities, how an untime-
ly death can shatter already dysfunctional
families, and the volcanic territory where
pain and pleasure collide.
All with richly drawn characters who
engage and astound. Eli (Seth Num-
rich), a skinny, troubled 17-year old who
wears rolled-up jeans, a heavy-metal
rock T-shirt, and too much henna in his
big hair, prefers photography to human
interaction. He describes himself and his
mother as “really good business partners
that sometimes greatly surprise each
other.”
Wracked by the loss of his father, Eli
can’t shake the memory of a former boy-
friend, Chris (Adam Driver), a time bomb
of a closet case, who, in flashbacks,
lets him suck his dick one minute and
threatens to kill him the next. And when
he questions the amorous attentions of
bi-curious Jake (MacLeod Andrews), Eli
tumbles down an abyss of self-pity and
self-abuse. Pain and love become one.
In a fog of contempt, Eli accuses his
mother, Jan (Meg Gibson), of screwing
her students (she’s an English professor),
and indirectly causing his father’s death.
She was never much of a mom, and her
attempts at making up for it now fall flat.
It doesn’t hurt that Numrich is not only
model-sexy but a captivating, first-rate
performer. Looking a little like a cross
between a young James Dean and that
pretty vampire dude from “Twilight,” it’s
impossible not to feel for him, even when
he’s being a total brat.
Delivering Talbot’s staccato, Mamet-
esque dialogue, packed with lots of three-
word sentences and pregnant pauses, is
no easy feat, and the cast largely pulls it
off convincingly, no small thanks to Kel-
ly’s tight direction. She keeps the brisk,
85-minute drama moving apace, incor-
porating plaintive snippets of Eli’s favorite
music from Joy Division, Eminem, Jay Z,
and, yeah it’s predictable, Morrissey and
The Smiths.
And if you think this all sounds like a
downer, there is levity in this potent if
unpolished drama, including a talking
penis, tasteless jokes about Christ being
well hung, and other zingers. Having per-
haps slipped to rock bottom, in a hospital
bed, Eli deadpans, “I’m damaged goods.
I’m like a 49-year-old hooker at 18.”
WATER TAXI
BEACH
food. fun. sand.
OUR OFFICIAL TRAVEL

& TOURISM PARTNER
HarborExperience.com
866.982.2542
N O R T H S I D E O F P I E R 1 7
SOUTH STREET SEAPORT
SOUTH STREET SEAPORT
THURSDAYS
Victor Franco Presents*
FRIDAYS
Melting Pot Global
6pm- 2am*
SATURDAYS
Nicky Siano & More
SUNDAYS
Brunch 11am-4pmPulse
87 Twilight Beach Party
4pm-2am
* FREE BEFORE 8PM
EAT IT
RAW
HAPPY
HOUR
$.50 Raw Bar & $3 off all
beer, wine and cocktails.
Wed - Fri 4pm to 6pm
WEDNESDAYS
Salsa with DJ Eddie
Batiz 6pm- 2am*
BIG FUN! SMALL BUCKS!
281 W 12th St @ 4th St. NYC 212-243-9041
Sun. $3.50 Screwdrivers & our famous Bloody Mary’s,
$2.50 Miller Lite Drafts & Bud Bottles
Mon. $4 Mojito’s all flavors Tues. $2 Margarita’s
CHEAP-EEZ COCKTAILS (except Fri. & Sat.) - Coors & Pabst Cans $3,
Rootbeer Floats $3, Sloe Gin Fizz $2, Tom Collins $3,
Whiskey Sours $3, Rum Lime Ricky $3
Neighborhood
Fusion!
“One of the 63 best bars
in NYC” — Time Out, 2009
114 Christopher St.
Btw Bleecker & Hudson St.
212-741- 9641
©
A Village Landmark
Serving The Community
For Over 35 Years
Happy Hour Monday - Friday 2 - 8
2nd Tuesday of the Month is Fireflag/EMS Night
6-1am 50/50 Raffle / BEAR NITE Every Thursday
To Advertise in
Gay City News,
please call
646.452.2496
Seth Numrich as Eli and MacLeod Andrews as Jake in Daniel Talbot’s “Slipping,” directed by Kirsten Kelly.
P
A
U
L
A
C
O
U
R
T
SLIPPING
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
224 Waverly Pl.
Mon.-Fri. at 8 p.m.; Sat. at 5 & 9 p.m.
Through Aug 15
$20; smarttix.com Or 212-868-4444
32
WWW.GAYCITYNEWS.COM
6 – 19 AUG 2009

A SCRUMPTIOUS FEAST!

THE FEEL
-
GOOD MOVIE OF THE YEAR!

Streep and Adams are delicious, simply delicious!

KEVIN STEINCROSS, FOX-TV
NOW PLAYING
COLUMBIA PICTURES PRESENTS A LAURENCE MARK PRODUCTION AN EASY THERE TIGER/AMY ROBINSON PRODUCTION A FILM BY NORA EPHRON “JULIE & JULIA” STANLEY TUCCI CHRIS MESSINA LINDA EMOND
MUSIC
BY ALEXANDRE DESPLAT
PRODUCTION
DESIGNER MARK RICKER EDITOR RICHARD MARKS, A.C.E.
COSTUME
DESIGNER ANN ROTH
DIRECTOR OF
PHOTOGRAPHY STEPHEN GOLDBLATT, ASC BSC
EXECUTIVE
PRODUCERS SCOTT RUDIN DONALD J. LEE, JR. DANA STEVENS
PRODUCED
BY LAURENCE MARK NORA EPHRON AMY ROBINSON ERIC STEEL
DIRECTED
BY NORA EPHRON
BASED ON THE BOOKS
“JULIE & JULIA” BY JULIE POWELL AND
“MY LIFE IN FRANCE”
BY JULIA CHILD WITH ALEX PRUD’HOMME
SCREENPLAY
BY NORA EPHRON
“YUM! MERYL STREEP IS AT HER BRILLIANT, BEGUILING BEST!
This movie is a chance to find your inner Julia!

PETER TRAVERS, ROLLING STONE