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Santorums Anti-Gay Evolution Page 9 New Trenton Marriage Push Page 14

Anthony Rapp, Dublin Dreamer Page 18 William Christie at the Met Page 25
JANUARY 18-31, 2012
Sometimes its childs play to demon-
strate that a candidates claim is a flat-
out falsehood, though even then its
not always easy to prove the candidate
knowingly deceived voters.
But every once in a while, a politician
says something untrue where the evi-
dence is unmistakable that they knew
they were lying.
During a Republican presidential
debate on January 7, Newt Gingrich,
the former House speaker amidst
a rant about what the news media is
ignoring asked, Should the Catho-
lic Church be forced to close its adop-
tion services in Massachusetts because
it wont accept gay couples, which is
exactly what the state has done?
Catholic Charities of Boston had, in
fact, elected to end its adoption ser-
vices in 2006 after Massachusetts
officials made clear that its decision to
specifically bar adoptions by gay people
ran afoul of state law. Gingrich was
on a roll making the claim the Obama
Politicians, particularly in the heat of an election
contest, often fudge the facts. Thats no surprise,
and there are no end of media outlets and advocacy
groups of varying reliability, to be sure who put
on a full court press ferreting out the truthiness
of debate pronouncements, stump speeches, and
campaign websites.
ROMNEY, continued on p.8
January 18, 2012 | 2
1. Adoption (domestic and international)
2. Wills & Trusts
3. Co-habitation agreement
Were here to help you
protect the family
you created
Khan & Yau, PC.
415 Madison Ave., 14th Fl.
New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212-401-6298
Fax: 212-931-9351
Has Anyone Heard From Bob?
A Chelsea therapists death leaves
a trail of unanswered questions
in a whisper chain among the
community of midlife gay men
Hitchens the
lightning rod;
Youth in the lurch;
emotional wake;
Ron Paul supporters
Richard III in
Duck Soup
Kevin Spacey camps
his way through
Mitts Myths
Every once in a while,
a politician says
something untrue
where the evidence
is unmistakable that
they knew they were
Illustration by Vince Joy
PAGES 32 & 33
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January 18, 2012 | 4
| January 18, 2012 5
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| January 18, 2012 7
January 18, 2012 |
administration pursues a policy of anti-
Christian bigotry, and didnt pause to
fill out the details of what went down in
Mitt Romney, the former Massachu-
setts governor, was not about to be one-
upped in grandstanding an issue from
his own home state, so he jumped into
the fray to embellish Gingrichs story.
The people in this room feel that
Speaker Gingrich is absolutely right
and I do too. And and I was in a state
where the Supreme Court stepped in and
said marriage is a relationship required
under the Constitution for for people
of the same sex to be able to marry And
and it did exactly as Speaker Gingrich
indicated. What happened was Catholic
Charities, that placed almost half of all
of the adoptive children in our state, was
forced to step out of being able to provide
adoptive services We have to recognize
that that this decision about what we
call marriage has consequence which
goes far beyond a loving couple want-
ing to form a long-term relationship that
they can do within the law now. Calling it
a marriage creates a whole host of prob-
lems for for families, for the law, for
for for the practice of of religion, for
For voters who abhor the idea of gay
and lesbian couples marrying, thats
a great story. Activist judges step in,
impose gay marriage on a state in 2003,
and the next thing you know, Christians
are not allowed to pursue their mission
to place orphans in adoptive homes.
In fact, the story is right out of the
playbook of the National Organization
for Marriage (NOM), a leader in the fight
to push back on any form of partner rec-
ognition for same-sex couples.
The problem is that the story is not
true. Not in any respect. And Mitt Rom-
ney, who was in the thick of the battle
over Catholic Charities adoption service,
knows that full well.
As a public adoption service, the
Catholic Charities operation qualified
as a public accommodation under
state human rights law. From the time
that sexual orientation protections were
added to that law in 1989, the adoption
service had the obligation to accept gay
prospective parents. The Church had
simply never before complained about
Marc Solomon, the national campaign
manager at Freedom to Marry, was in
Boston during the period when mar-
riage equality began and the adoption
issue played out, first as a volunteer at
the Massachusetts Freedom to Marry
Coalition, then as political director at
Mass Equality, and later as the head of
that group. Solomon said that the NOM-
Romney myth about gay adoptions is a
relatively new framing of the argument
against marriage equality.
In one sense, this is good they are
no longer debating the fundamentals of
the issue, he said. Their strategy is to
find the unknown that you can scare
people with now. They warn that there
are unintended consequences. Its going
to hurt the kids, it will affect churches.
What happened in Boston in 2006
bears no relationship to what the ene-
mies of marriage equality would have
voters believe.
Catholic Charities, which had been
in the adoption business for decades,
had on occasion placed children with
gay parents. According to a blog post by
Laura Kiritsy, the former editor of Bay
Windows, Bostons LGBT newspaper,
who is now with Gay & Lesbian Advo-
cates & Defenders, that practice blew
up in October 2005 when the Boston
Globe reported that in the previous two
decades, 13 of the 720 adoptions were by
gay and lesbian parents. Father J. Bryan
Hehir, president of Catholic Charities,
told the newspaper, If we could design
the system ourselves, we would not par-
ticipate in adoptions to gay couples, but
we cant. We have to balance various
According to Kiritsy, the Church first
took action when the states four bishops
got wind of that adoption data. Mean-
while, the Globes disclosure that the
Worcester diocese referred gay couples
elsewhere prompted the State Depart-
ment of Social Services to investigate.
Church and state were on a collision
Romney claimed that Catholic Chari-
ties accounted for half of the adoptions
in Massachusetts, but Solomon said the
number was closer to five percent. The
Globe reported that only four percent of
Catholic Charities revenues were spent
on adoption services.
Five months after the Globe story
appeared, Bostons archbishop, Car-
dinal Sean Patrick OMalley, abruptly
announced that Catholic Charities
would end its adoption program rather
than comply with the nondiscrimina-
tion provisions of state human rights
law. According to the Globe, OMalley
and Hehir had appealed to Romney for a
state law waiver but were told he lacked
authority to grant one.
Once the cardinal announced the
shutdown, however, Romney wasted no
time in calling for legislation to provide
religious exemptions. According to Solo-
mon, that effort was dead on arrival in
the Legislature.
OMalleys decision reflected the deter-
mination of the Church hierarchy, but
certainly was not the consensus among
those Catholics committed to maintain-
ing adoption opportunities in Boston.
Catholic Charities 42-member board
had voted unanimously to comply with
state law. When the cardinal big-footed
the board, in the words of one member
who spoke to Gay City News, more than
half a dozen board members, including
the chairman, resigned in protest.
According to one of the members
who resigned, the outrage voiced by the
states bishops when the Globe story
broke in 2005 was largely for show.
Cardinal Bernard Law, the archbishop
forced out in the wake of the child abuse
scandal, knew about the gay adoptions
for years, that source said. OMalley, too,
learned of them within a year or so of
replacing Law in 2003.
OMalley, the board member said, had
no appetite for the adoption battle the
order came down from the Vatican. By
then, Law had been reassigned to Rome,
and he went there with a chip on his
shoulder about Catholic Charities. Voice
of the Faithful, a lay Catholic organiza-
tion that emerged in 2002 to support
child abuse victims and to prod what
they saw as an unresponsive hierarchy,
made a donation to Catholic Charities,
much to Laws consternation.
How much of the Church backstory
Romney was privy to is unknown, but
as the public drama unfolded, he was
in the room, so to speak, every step of
the way. He cannot plausibly say today
that gay marriage had anything to do the
adoption issue unless the connection
is that the Church hierarchy purposely
picked this fight right in the midst of its
nearly all-consuming push to roll back
equal marriage rights.
The [Church] leadership in Boston
was clearly under orders to do every-
thing to prevent the legitimacy of gay
marriage, Solomon recalled, though he
could not say whether OMalley and the
Vatican tried to amp up emotions over
the marriage question by taking their
uncompromising posture on adoptions.
With Rick Santorum, the former
Pennsylvania senator, accusing Romney
of having been soft of the danger of gay
marriage as governor, its not surprising
that Romney talks about what happened
in Massachusetts in hyperbolic terms.
But Santorum is simply wrong.
From my vantage point, he pulled
out all the stops, Solomon said of Rom-
ney. From the time of the 2003 ruling,
he was unalterably opposed and he did
everything he could to stop gay marriage
short of not following the law.
Through a series of constitutional
conventions where the Legislature sat
in joint session to consider a variety of
amendment efforts to overturn the mar-
riage ruling, Romney pushed to prevent
any partner recognition of gay and les-
bian couples. When for strategic reasons
he told his allies to vote for a civil union
compromise, he had to hold his nose,
Solomon said.
In the six months between the mar-
riage ruling and the beginning of wed-
dings, Romney wanted to ask the high
court to delay the effective date to give
the Legislature the required two consec-
utive sessions to consider constitutional
amendments. The Democratic attorney
general declined to go to court with that
motion, so Romney asked the Legislature
to appoint a special counsel, but he was
rebuffed there as well.
He next tried to defeat gay marriage
at the polls, endorsing 134 candidates
in the states 200 Senate and House dis-
tricts, which had overwhelmingly Demo-
cratic representation. In an election in
which every incumbent won, no non-in-
cumbent running from Romneys Team
Reform succeeded.
It was a colossal failure, an embar-
rassment for Romney, Solomon said.
The governor al so aggressi vel y
employed an archaic law from 1913 that
said couples from out of state could not
marry in Massachusetts if their mar-
riage would not be legal where they
lived. No matter that the statute had
an ugly history enacted to keep the
state from becoming a wedding refuge
for interracial couples from locales with
anti-miscegenation laws the governor
trumpeted the power it gave him, saying,
Massachusetts should not become the
Las Vegas of gay marriage.
Romneys fight against the 2003 mar-
riage equality victory lasted until his
final days in office in January 2007.
Armed with a Supreme Judicial Court
ROMNEY, from p.1
ROMNEY, continued on p.9
Mitt Romney addresses the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
/ R
| January 18, 2012
ruling that scolded the Legislature but did not specifi-
cally order it to take a vote on yet another constitutional
amendment this one originating from a voter petition
Romney bullied a joint session to act. Since the effort
came from voters directly, marriage equality advocates
needed 75 percent of the 200 legislators to forestall a
referendum. They fell short, winning only 137 votes
versus 62 supporting the referendum.
Fortunately, a referendum does not make it onto the
Massachusetts ballot unless it is approved in two con-
secutive legislative sessions. Without the stalwart sup-
port of the House and Senate Democratic leaders and
the new governor, Deval Patrick, also a Democrat, mar-
riage might not have been saved in Massachusetts. In
June 2007, the amendment efforts were finally laid to
rest in a 151-45 vote.
If steadfast opposition characterized Romneys
response to marriage equality, his LGBT record oth-
erwise was decidedly inconsistent, according to Solo-
mon. In his 1994 challenge to Senator Ted Kennedy, he
famously claimed he would be the stronger ally of the
LGBT community. Eight years later, as a candidate for
governor, his campaign distributed flyers at Bostons
gay pride celebration voicing support for civil rights pro-
tections based on sexual preference a phrase, Solo-
mon noted with a grin, long out of vogue in the LGBT
Romneys presidential campaign now claims that the
2002 flyer was not authorized by the candidate. And
yet, in the January 8 Meet the Press debate, the for-
mer Massachusetts governor said, If people are look-
ing for someone who who will discriminate against
gays or will in any way try and suggest that people that
have different sexual orientation dont have full rights
in this country, they wont find that in me.
Asked in a follow up when he last stood up and
spoke out for increasing gay rights?, Romney respond-
ed, Right now.
Romneys record, however, clearly suggests that he
tacks with the political winds on LGBT questions. In
2006, his last year as governor, when he was already
traveling frequently to build his national profile, he was
faced with renewing the mandate for the Governors
Commission on GLBT Youth. That commission was
established in 1992 by Republican Governor William
Weld in response to an epidemic of suicides, and its
powers were expanded by Welds GOP successor, Paul
Cellucci. Romney himself had several times extended
its life.
Late on a Friday afternoon in early 2006, the gov-
ernor abruptly announced the commission would be
disbanded. Liz Malia, an out lesbian Democrat from
Bostons Jamaica Plain, recalled rushing to the gover-
nors office and demanding to see Romney. After a wait
of several hours, she was finally greeted by a press flak
close to the governor, but never got an answer about
why the commission had been junked. By July, the
Legislature had enacted a state commission to replace
the body Romney eliminated.
What does Romneys wild inconsistency on gay rights
presage for his prospects as president?
Solomon noted that he has signed NOMs radical
marriage pledge committing to defend DOMA, enact a
constitutional ban on marriage equality nationwide,
appoint Supreme Court justices who reject the right
of gay couples to marry, and establish a presidential
commission to investigate harassment of those battling
against marriage equality.
I think it goes without saying he is no Barack Obama
on LGBT issues, Solomon said. Its really night and
He added, however, that looking for glimmers of
hope comes with the territory of having worked on
marriage equality for a decade. Above all, Solomon
said, Romney is ideologically flexible.
Representative Malia expressed much the same view
in a less charitable manner.
My belief is that his actions are purely political on
almost every issue, she said. He never had a position
that he wouldnt change for political reasons.
n fairness to Rick Santo-
rum, he did not equate
homosexuality with bes-
tiality and pedophilia in
a 2003 interview when he
was commenting on Lawrence
v. Texas, the US Supreme
Court decision that struck
down sodomy laws across the
In every society, the defini-
tion of marriage has not ever,
to my knowledge, included
homosexuality, he told the
Associated Press that year.
Thats not to pick on homo-
sexuality. Its not, you know,
man on child, man on dog, or
whatever the case may be.
In fairness to the rest of us,
Santorum did equate homo-
sexuality with several other
things he thinks are bad.
If the Supreme Court says
that you have the right to con-
sensual sex within your home,
then you have the right to
bigamy, you have the right to
polygamy, you have the right
to incest, you have the right to
adultery, you have the right to
anything, he said.
All these things are a threat
to traditional families, the can-
didate for the Republican nom-
ination for president said then.
Whether i t s pol ygamy,
whether its adultery, whether
its sodomy, all of those things,
are antithetical to a healthy,
stable, traditional family, he
In 2003, this was the newer,
bolder Rick Santorum, whose
flair for outspokenness grew
only slowly during his first
decade in elected office. He
was then in his second term
representing Pennsylvania in
the US Senate, and some pun-
dits argued that the socially
conservative positions he more
visibly embraced cost him his
seat in 2006.
Having effectively tied Mitt
Romney, the former Massa-
chusetts governor, for first
place in the January 3 Iowa
caucuses after advocating
those positions to voters there,
Santorum clearly believes they
will win him the 2012 GOP
presidential nomination. His
poor showing in the following
contest in New Hampshire has
not deterred him from moving
on to compete on terrain he
views as more favorable the
January 21 South Carolina
primary. Santorum received a
boost on January 14 when a
gathering of right-wing evan-
gelical leaders in Texas urged
socially conservative voters to
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Rick Santorums Anti-Gay Evolution A restrained voice in
Republicans early Washington years grew shrill by turn of century
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum speaks to supporters in Iowa following his come-
from-behind photo finish tie with Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor.
/ R
SANTORUM, continued on p.31
ROMNEY, from p.8
January 18, 2012 |
n January 6, in the
way things happen
now, a post popped
up on the Facebook
page of gay Man-
hattan psychotherapist Bob
Bergeron: Has anyone heard
from Bob? For the previous
several days, a parade of regu-
lar clients had gone to his apart-
ment in North Chelsea, out of
which he worked, rang the bell,
and nothing.
Thursday evening the
night before the Facebook post
a neighbor heard the instant-
ly recognizable, though merci-
fully rare, tromp of firemens
boots coming up the stairs.
They left sometime later with
a body, leaving a trail of unan-
swered questions behind them,
scattered like breadcrumbs for
the unnerved residents of the
building, the devastated clients,
bewildered colleagues, a grief-
stricken family back in Arizona,
and those in a whisper chain
in the more-village-than-youd-
think-still-possible community
of midlife gay men in New York.
I knew Bob back in the old
days when we were both staff-
ers at Gay Mens Health Crisis.
He seemed impossibly glamor-
ous and unapproachable to me
tall, surfer blond, flashing a
lupine smile. But then hed just
say a chipper Hi! unexpectedly
and it just didnt compute. Wait,
this was the kind of guy who
had it all, who could have any-
one, who scorned and spurned
and danced with his shirt off.
Or so I thought. But the casual
and authentic Hi! overturned
the brittle but unquestioned
pecking order of the urban gay
male: you got the pecs, you get
to pick.
Bob was something different,
kind of like the perpetually sin-
gle Mary Richards in the news-
room at WJM. You noticed her
because she was just so lumi-
nous with that smile and that
figure, but then this cascade of
insecurities tumbled out of her
mouth, making you laugh and
fall a little bit in love with her
right then.
Bob commi t t ed sui ci de
sometime in the first week of
January. After having spent 20
years on the frontlines of the
HIV epidemic among gay men,
first at AIDS Project Los Ange-
les and then at the Crisis, as
we staffers sometimes jokingly
called GMHC, where he rose to
become the director of preven-
tion and helped create truly
innovative programs to stem
the tide of HIV and to build gay
mens sense of self-worth at the
same time.
He went on to open a private
practice as a therapist, heading
to the gym most mornings for
the ritual exercise-cum-coffee
klatch, then back to the office
to listen, engage, question, cry,
and laugh with members of his
tribe. He was beloved by many
for his warmth and his opti-
All suicides are shocking
things. Anothers hidden life
of quiet desperation is sud-
denly revealed in stark relief.
But when the person who takes
their own life seems from the
outside to have so much going
for them, it strikes a sort of cold
terror of there but for the grace
of God go I.
Scheduled for a February,
2012 release, Bobs first book,
The Right Side of Forty: The
Complete Guide to Happiness
for Gay Men at Midlife and
Beyond, from Magnus Books
has now been delayed as the
publishers wrestle with how
to market an aging well book
whose author killed himself.
As a therapist who also works
mainly with the gay male com-
munity in Manhattan, I am
aware of the rarely stated but
often hovering question in new
clients eyes, What can you
offer me? Have you figured this
out? Can tell me how you did it,
or are you just pretending?
A romantic relationship
ended for Bob about a year and
a half ago, according to a close
friend. Was he lonely? Didnt he
love himself? Werent looks and
success and friends and family
I dont subscribe to the if-you-
then-shut-up-about-it school.
I try to position myself a fellow
traveler with my clients, gay and
straight alike. We are all trying
to figure it out. I have particu-
lar counseling skills to help a
person on that journey, regard-
less of where I am today in the
seesaw of love myself or hate
myself, single or coupled,
feast or famine. People used to
say that all male homosexuals
would wind up drunks or sui-
cides. In the past few decades,
that has transformed into all
gays will become drug addicts
or get AIDS, which implies the
same thing a self-hatred and
disgust that becomes self-de-
Well, listen to me: Fuck. That.
I am more than my chal-
lenges. Bob was more than the
title of his book or the way his
life ended, for whatever concat-
enation of reasons that we can
never know. Was he just a late-
breaking victim of the AIDS cri-
sis or some demon of internal-
ized homophobia? Had he wan-
dered too far down some dark
path of obsession?
In the end, what matters to
me most about Bob is that he
said his bright Hi! first. He
broke down the concrete wall
between gay men that seeks to
have us treat each other as, lets
face it, our fathers all too often
treated us as rejectable. Good
for you, Bob. You tried. You
were ambitious, proud, sunny,
affable, troubled, insecure, and
49 years old when you died. I
am so, so sorry for whatever
pain drove you to this end. I am
sorry for you as a gay man and
as a human being.
Bobs words from his upcom-
ing book:
In all my years of clinical
work, I have never encountered
a fifty-year-old gay-male client
complain that he feels invisible
in non-gay environments in his
life, such as in his work or with
his parents or family. But I con-
sistently hear fifty-year-old men
say that they feel invisible in
the all gay-male environments
where much of their lives unfold.
No matter how successful and
rewarding their lives, even gay
men who have created mean-
ingful friendships and romantic
relationships with other men still
become confused because other
gay men treat them differently
as they enter their forties and
beyond. In my clinical practice, I
have seen that until men resolve
their confusion and unhappiness
about how other gay men relate
to them now that they are older,
the sense of loss and isolation
they feel leaves them ill-equipped
to deal with these other issues of
aging common for all older men
and women.
We usually only quote the
first half of Thoreaus statement
and not the whole thing. Most
men lead lives of quiet despera-
tion and go to the grave with the
song still in them. Bob sang
his song. It echoes down Eighth
Avenue today.
Christopher Murray, LCSW,
can be reached at www.chris- The family
requests that donations in honor
of Bob Bergeron, LCSW, be made
to Gay Mens Health Crisis at
Has Anyone Heard From Bob? A Chelsea therapists
death reverberates
Bob Bergeron in the photo he chose for his Facebook timeline.
$23 Million to Endow
Social Justice Center at
Kalamazoo College
The Arcus Foundation, a social justice and wild-
life conservation grant-making group, has awarded
Kalamazoo College $23 million to endow the work
of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership
(ACSJL). The Center will provide support to develop
emerging leaders and sustain existing leaders in the
fields of human rights and social justice.
The Center, which has been in existence for about
18 months, has provided ten LGBT leaders residen-
cies or venues to present their work including
Kenyon Farrow of New Yorks Queers for Economic
Justice, Ignacio Rivera, a New York sex educator and
activist, Amelie Zurn, a progressive queer therapist
in Washington, Rebecca Fox, the former executive
director of the National Health Coalition, and Robyn
Ochs, a bisexual activist in Massachusetts.
The endowment will fund two professorships,
student scholarships, internships and leadership
development programs, residencies for social justice
scholars and practitioners, and local and global part-
Arcus, which focuses particular emphasis on
NEWS BRIEFS, continued on p.30
| January 18, 2012 11
Make 2012 your healthiest
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Join the GVCCC, Roosevelt and
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Media Partner:
udges on the Court of
Appeals, New York States
highest bench, seemed
unconvi nced that the
rights of a convicted killer
of two gay men were violated when
evidence from the first killing was
used during his trial for the second
In 2004, a Brooklyn jury found
Mickey Cass, now 33, guilty of sec-
ond-degree murder in the 2003
strangling of Victor Dombrova Neto, a
27-year-old Brazilian man. In 2005,
Cass was convicted on the same
charge in the 2002 strangling death
of Kevin Bosinski, also 27, by a Buf-
falo jury.
Cass and a sibling were subjected
to horrific physical and sexual abuse
by their father when they were chil-
dren. In statements to police and
prosecutors, Cass said that he
described this abuse to both victims.
When Bosinski and Dombrova Neto
made unwanted sexual advances,
Cass said, he lost it and got into fights
with the men, according to one court
document. The stranglings occurred
during those fights.
In his Brooklyn trial, he presented an
extreme emotional disturbance (EED)
defense that said that when he lost it,
his state of mind was such that he did
not have the intent to kill that is legally
required to convict him of second-degree
To counter that defense, the prosecu-
tor argued that Cass planned both mur-
ders and pointed out their common fea-
tures by playing Cass videotaped state-
ment, in which he discussed both kill-
ings, and entering the Bosinski autopsy
report into evidence.
The incidents are strikingly similar,
said Joyce Slevin, an assistant district
attorney in the Brooklyn DAs office,
during the January 5 hearing before
the Court of Appeals. Those similarities
show premeditation, certainly a plan,
she added.
If there is some kind of premeditation
or forethought, hes not acting under
extreme emotional disturbance, she
said. The fact pattern itself shows that
the defendant did not act under extreme
emotional disturbance.
Representing himself, Cass has filed
multiple long, often handwritten appeals
with his Brooklyn trial judge and a state
appellate court. He was represented by
Warren S. Landau from the Appellate
Advocates before the Court of Appeals.
Their argument has been that the Bosin-
ski evidence was prejudicial and should
have been excluded.
The circumstances of the Bosinski
homicide... indicated that the Bosinski
homicide occurred under a trigger that
was consistent with a loss of control due
to an extreme emotional disturbance,
Landau said on January 5. Any simi-
larities between the Dombrova homicide
and the Bosinski homicide... didnt tend
to undermine extreme emotional distur-
bance... This had no probative value to
undermine the EED defense.
Generally, prosecutors may present
evidence of other crimes committed by
a defendant only under limited circum-
stances. The judge in the Brooklyn case,
Gustin L. Reichbach, allowed it, writing
in 2004, Evidence of the other homicide
has strong probative value as tending to
rebut the defendants claim of extreme
emotional disturbance.
While the questions that judges ask
during oral arguments do not necessari-
ly predict how they will rule in a case, the
court appeared to be unmoved by Lan-
daus arguments.
Cant it show calculation? asked
Double Murderers Appeal
Gets Skeptical Hearing
NYs highest court judges appear
unconvinced by Mickey Cass
CASS, continued on p.31
The State Court of Appeals heard Mickey Cass challenge to his
2004 conviction in the murder of a gay man on January 5. (NYPD)
January 18, 2012 |
Duncan Osborne
Christopher Byrne (Theater), Susie Day,
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All rights reserved.
January 7, 2012
To the Editor:
How right you were to fea-
ture Doug Irelands moving
memoir of love, friendship, and
personal grief on the cover of
your first issue of the new year
(My Queer Friend Christopher
Hitchens, by Doug Ireland,
Jan. 4-17). Ireland is our pre-
mier gay voice against oppres-
sion throughout the world
and one of the chief reasons we
go first to Gay City News to hear
about our universally queer
William Leo Coakley
Via email

January 5, 2012
To the Editor:
What a beautiful piece of
writing. A great journalistic light
has gone out with the passing of
Hitch, but Mr. Irelands writ-
ing proves others walk along-
side his memory.
Jim Cullen
Via email

January 5, 2012
To the Editor:
Thanks to Doug Ireland for
his beautiful, touching trib-
ute to Christopher Hitchens
and, especially, in laying out
so many wonderful personal
anecdotes from their friend-
ship, for the reminder that
Hitchens confusing late politi-
cal de-liberalization neednt get
in the way of love for the rest
of him.
Bruce Nelson
Via email

January 4, 2012
To the Editor:
Doug Ireland s memorial
to Hitchens here is a rich and
beautiful work itself, informa-
tive and appreciated in that it
reflects new light on Christo-
phers life. We came to such
disappointment over his sup-
port for the Bush wars, it had
become easy to dismiss him.
Here we see again, or for the
first time, some of the richness
of his life and are made aware
of the depth of his insights into
sexuality. In the final days, it
was wonderful, again, to enjoy
him on the cable shows speak-
ing up for atheism.
Bill Stribling
Via email
January 6, 2012
To the Editor:
Christopher Hitchens was
my role model for bravery. He
spoke his mind completely and
truly without ever fearing repri-
sal. My mother had a refrig-
erator magnet with a cartoon
of a skunk saying, A friend is
someone who knows everything
about you but likes you any-
way. Thank you Doug for your
flexibility, openness, and exqui-
site comments about your love
and respect for Hitch.
Jeff Karmiole
Via email

January 4, 2012
To the Editor:
Hitchens did more than sim-
ply back George Bush. He gave
a big boost to Islamophobia by
describing the so-called war on
terror as a struggle of Western
Civilization against the hordes
of Islam. As an atheist but also
an internationalist, I saw that
the title of his book, God is not
Great, was in part an attack on
Islam. No doubt Hitchens made
contributions against homopho-
bia and befriended you in per-
sonal ways, Doug. But I with-
drew from the Freedom From
Religion Foundation when it
chose to honor Hitchens several
years ago.
Bob Schwartz
Via email

January 4, 2012
To the Editor:
I totally respect Irelands
friendship and devotion to a
man whom he credits with sav-
ing his life, but nothing here
convinces me Hitchens wasnt
basically a gay man. His talk
of relapsing into homosexual
relations is rather telling. Per-
haps he was a man who sup-
ported gay causes because deep
down he knew it was the right
thing to do, but somehow fig-
ured a basically bi/ heterosex-
ual front would get him further
in journalism, which it did I
mean, Vanity Fair?
He was operating in an ear-
lier era and, as Ireland relates,
eventually became quite con-
servative in at least some of his
views. His still helping Ireland
with gay causes is admirable,
of course, whatever his private
doubts, insecurities, or hypocri-
sies. Sad that even today there
are gay men who, however, gay-
friendly, just cant take that step
into fully declaring themselves
Bill Samuels
Via email
January 9, 2012
To the Editor:
Doug Ireland writes, I asked
one of the brighter stars in the
UKs journalistic firmament
today, Johann Hari, the openly
gay columnist for the Indepen-
dent, a fine upmarket daily, for
his opinion. Johann Hari is a
disgrace to UK journalism. He
has been suspended from the
Independent. He is a plagiarist,
and has admitted to malicious
editing, under a pseudonym, of
Wikipedia articles about people
he disliked. See economist.
Andrew Wood
Via email

January 6, 2012
To the Editor:
After reading the Hitchens
article by Doug Ireland, I looked
with disapproval at the head-
line. I had picked up the paper
due to my interest in Hitchens,
the fiery atheist with Jewish
roots, but the choice to high-
light the word Queer in pink,
in the title, My Queer Friend
Christopher Hitchens, seems
to me to distort reality, depict-
ing the recently deceased bisex-
ual Hitchens as a homosexual.
I see bisexuality as normal, and
homosexuality as more limited
opportunity-wise, and more
Corves Fralman
Via email
January 6, 2012
To the Editor:
I was pleased to see your arti-
cle on the Campaign for Youth
Shelter, and I wanted to high-
light the efforts being done by
one of the Campaigns leaders
Congregation Beit Simchat
Torah (CBST). An outspoken
voice in the Jewish and LGBTQ
worlds, CBST has devoted itself
to rallying the faith-based com-
munity around this urgent
In line with the directives
of the Campaign, CBST has
launched a new initiative called
Shelter of Peace. Uniting clergy
and congregations across New
York City, Shelter of Peace is
developing a base of caring
individuals who will stand up
and speak out on behalf of our
homeless youth.
Members of the Shelter of
Peace Network are clergy who
understand that all children
regardless of sexual orientation
or gender expression deserve
safe and supportive shelter
every single night. Families who
choose to reject their children
often turn to religion to provide
credence for their intolerance.
But we have a moral impera-
tive to protect the most vulner-
able members of our society.
Now is the time for the religious
community to stand up for its
On the weekend of January
20-22, more than 100 interfaith
clergy will be reminding their
congregations of that moral
responsibility. This Weekend of
Prayer and Learning will edu-
cate thousands of individu-
als about our homeless youth.
Those individuals will then put
pressure on the city and state
governments to recognize that
they have their own responsibil-
ity to protect the 3,800 young
people who sleep on the streets.
Interested congregations can
visit the Shelter of Peace website
Jennifer Gurevich

January 5, 2012
To the Editor:
Thank you for the excellent
article highlighting the con-
tinuing plight of our homeless
youth (Advocates Press Cuomo
on Homeless Youth, by Paul
Schindler, Jan. 4-17). Home-
lessness is a human rights issue
and no one no adult, no
child, no adolescent should
be without a safe and support-
ive place to call home.
New York State government
must reorder its priorities so
that our most vulnerable pop-
ulations are the first, not the
last on the list. Empire State
Coalition has worked for 30
years to ensure that homeless
youth receive the attention they
deserve, and I thank Gay City
News for periodically spotlight-
ing the issue.
For those wanting more
information, our report, which
you reference, can be found at
Margo Hirsch, Esq.
Executive Director
Empire State Coalition
January 8, 2012
To The Editor:
Pinkwashing is not so com-
plicated (Pinkwashings Com-
LETTERS, continued on p.31
| January 18, 2012
mong those public
officials and religious
officiants eligible to
perform marriage
ceremonies in New
York State are judges. Some
judges dont do marriages, oth-
ers limit them to family mem-
bers and acquaintances, while
some are basically available
upon reasonable request.
But, as with other officials
who play some role in the
administration of marriages, the
question arises whether there is
a legal or ethical violation if a
judge refuses to perform a mar-
riage between same-sex part-
ners, out of the judges own reli-
gious, ethical, or political oppo-
sition to them.
One judge, who remains
anonymous, submitted ques-
tions to the New York State
Advisory Committee on Judi-
cial Ethics, a body established
by law, seeking guidance on the
matter, and got back muck. The
Committee, whose opinion was
posted on the New York Law
Journals website on January
13, refused to bite the bullet
and give clear ethical advice.
The judge posed these ques-
1. May I ethically refuse to
conduct same-sex marriages?
2. If I continue to perform
male/ female marriages, may
I ethically refuse to conduct
same-sex marriages?
3. May I refuse to conduct
all marriages?
4. May I refuse to conduct
same-sex marriages if I pro-
vide the contact information
of others (including judges or
civil officers) who are willing
to conduct same-sex mar-
5. May I limit weddings that
I conduct to those people who
are friends or relatives?
The key to the answer is that
judges are not required to con-
duct marriages and that con-
ducting marriages are not part
of their official duties of office.
They have the privilege of con-
ducting marriages, but not the
obligation. But if they decide to
exercise the privilege, must they
do it in a non-discriminatory
manner or otherwise run afoul
of ethical standards?
The Committees answers,
after reciting a bunch of gen-
eral propositions, were clearest
regarding questions 3 and 5:
In the Committees view,
the Rules Governing Judicial
Conduct do not, by their terms,
require judges to perform mar-
riages. Accordingly, unless a
judge is required by law to per-
form marriages, the Committee
sees no impropriety if a judge
declines to conduct all mar-
Similarly, it is permissible
consistently to decline to con-
duct marriages for anyone who
is not a friend or relative, as
such a policy honors the judges
time constraints and does not
raise reasonable questions
about invidious discrimination,
bias, or prejudice.
But, regarding the really key
questions 1, 2, and 4 the
Committee essentially punts:
The new Marriage Equality
Act declares that marriage is a
fundamental human right and
amends the Domestic Relations
Law to provide that a marriage
that is otherwise valid shall be
valid regardless of whether the
parties to the marriage are of
the same or different sex. The
overall statutory scheme contin-
ues to provide, as it did before,
that No marriage shall be valid
unless solemnized by one of a
list of public officials, includ-
ing, among others, a justice or
judge of a court of the unified
court system.
In the committees view,
Questions 1, 2, and 4 raise
serious legal issues relating to
statutory and constitutional
interpretation, questions which
are both unsettled and highly
controversial. The Committee is
not empowered to answer such
questions... Therefore, with
respect to Questions 1, 2, and
4, the Committee can state only
that if the inquiring judge acts
in conformity with the govern-
ing constitutional and statutory
law concerning same-sex mar-
riage and sexual orientation,
the judge will not violate the
Rule Governing Judicial Con-
duct. These legal issues, to the
extent unsettled, must be raised
and addressed by persons with
standing in the appropriate
legal venue.
This opinion essentially
to abstain from addressing the
ethical issue until such time
as a court has resolved the
legal question in an appropri-
ate proceeding, presumably a
discrimination claim brought
by a same-sex couple who are
turned away by a judge was
put forward even as the Com-
mittee noted that a judge must
not engage in extra-judicial
activities that will cast rea-
sonable doubt on the judges
capacity to act impartially as a
judge and that state law for-
bids discrimination on the basis
of sexual orientation.
Of course, the questi on
whether that ban on sexual ori-
entation discrimination applies
to judges acting in their vol-
untary capacity as marriage
officiants is, as the Committee
indicates, a question yet to be
answered. Is a judge a public
accommodation when acting
as a marriage officiant?
I would be curious to know
whether the Committee would
think a judge is acting unethi-
cally if he or she declines to
perform mixed-race marriages
while being generally happy to
perform marriages in which
both parties are of the same
Statutory bans agai nst
mixed-race marriages have
been considered unconstitu-
tional nationwide since 1967,
but is it unethical for judges to
refuse to perform them? If so,
why after New York has leg-
islatively stated that the right to
marry a partner of the same sex
is a fundamental right here is
it not unethical for judges who
would otherwise be available
and willing to perform mar-
riages to turn down a request
because the parties are of the
same sex.
I think the Committee is hid-
ing behind the question of legal-
ity and what is ethical is not
invariably tied to what is legal.
At the same time, its reticence
is not surprising given the sen-
sitive nature of the underlying
question. If judges were deemed
to be public accommodations
for purposes of voluntary wed-
ding officiating, the ethics of the
matter would follow from that.
Otherwise, the ethics of the sit-
uation remain unaddressed.
Arthur S. Leonard is professor
of law at New York Law School
and editor of Lesbian/ Gay Law
unday morning, my
girlfriend and I piled
on the layers and
shivered our way to
the West Village to
see a movie. The F train wasnt
running uptown, so we sprang
for a cab and got there early.
We thought about going for
coffee to kill time, but a crowd
accumulated quickly, and I got
nervous until I realized most
were there for the handsome
Harry Belafonte, not the Wim
Wenders documentary about
Pina Bausch.
Even in New York, the major-
ity of people dont care about
dance or art for that mat-
ter. I only discovered Bausch
because I took a class on perfor-
mance art in college where they
showed part of Carnations.
The segment was pretty simple
a guy in a suit doing a sign
language version of The Man I
Love as Sophie Tucker sings it
in the background.
I d like to say it was the
moment I realized the beau-
ty of homolove and came out
as queer, but no, I remember
thinking, Hmm, a guy, inter-
esting choice, and wondering if
he was the only person around
that could do sign language.
The obvious went right over my
head. Still, that performance
stuck in my mind all these years
as one of the purest expressions
of romantic yearning Id ever
What can I say? It took me
ages to see myself as queer
much less you or anyone else.
There were all those girls on the
field hockey team that I defend-
ed as just affectionate, playing
around, not lezzies at all. Football
players roughhouse, too, after all,
indulging in all that high-spirited
slapping and grabbing, and walk
around afterwards with their
arms hanging loosely over each
others shoulders.
Even after Id had a girlfriend,
I still didnt see myself that way.
Neither did the girl who started
it, raising my hand to her mouth
and kissing a finger somewhere
between New Orleans and Ken-
tucky, setting off a perfect storm
in the twilight of a Greyhound
We homo not so sapiens are
talented in nothing if not deni-
al. Sometimes thats essential
for our survival. If I had come
out as a teenager, I would have
been even more miserable than
I was. Maybe ended up home-
less. When I broke the news to
my mother as an adult, she said
she didnt want to hear from me
again until I was the girl God
meant for me to be. Imagine if I
had heard that at 14? Why not
bury it deep?
Knowledge isnt that easy to
come by not for any of us.
Partly because we dont quit
talking long enough to think.
Pina Bausch said dance was for
the moments when life leaves
us speechless. But hardly any-
body admits to speechlessness
anymore. We tweet, tumblr, FB
absolutely everything. We pro-
nounce rather than explore.
Political candidates feed the
camera a diet of sound bites
and certainty, all delivered from
the lofty perch of moral high
ground where theres no room
for doubt or absolute misery.
No questions like, Are we going
about this all wrong? or Is
NY Judicial Ethics Gurus
Punt on Same-Sex Marriage
SPEECHLESS, continued on p.28
January 18, 2012 |
n an impressive show of Demo-
cratic unity on the issue of mar-
riage equality, on the same
day that New Jersey Senate
and Assembly leaders in Tren-
ton announced reintroduction of a gay
marriage bill, all seven of the states US
House members from that party as well
as its two US senators released a letter
voicing their support.
In their letter, made public on January
9, the congressional Democrats argued
that New Jerseys civil union law
enacted in 2006 in response to the State
Supreme Courts ruling that the Legis-
lature must afford same-sex couples all
the rights and benefits of marriage
failed to do that.
Ample testimony before the New Jer-
sey Senate Judiciary Committee two
years ago demonstrated that the civil
union law has not successfully provided
equality to same-sex couples in New Jer-
sey, the letter stated. Couples testified
that hospitals still refuse visitation and
medical-decision rights because they do
not consider civil unions to be equal to
marriage. Similarly, couples demonstrat-
ed that employers continue to refuse to
grant equal benefits to civil union part-
At a Trenton press conference, Sen-
ate President Steve Sweeney and Assem-
bly Speaker Sheila Oliver both pledged
speedy action and predicted victory.
Regarding evidence that the civil union
law was falling short, Oliver, in a written
statement, said, It sends a message that
same-sex couples are not good enough
to warrant equality. This is the same
wrong message we heard from segrega-
tion laws. Separate treatment was wrong
then. And separate treatment is wrong
Republican Governor Chris Chris-
tie has repeatedly stated his opposition
to marriage equality legislation, argu-
ing that the civil union law is sufficient.
Given the governors national profile and
the possibility he may seek higher office
down the road, its unlikely he would
reconsider his position and buck anti-
gay conservatives across the nation who
currently wield significant influence in
the GOP.
Former Democratic Governor Jon Cor-
zine had pledged to sign a gay marriage
bill, but in the final days of his admin-
istration in January 2010, movement
was blocked by Sweeneys unwillingness
to support the legislation. He has since
voiced strong regret for his inaction and
this week said he expects the Senate to
move by March.
Sweeney will be succeeded as major-
ity leader by Loretta Weinberg, a Tean-
eck Democrat who has been the Legisla-
tures most vocal champion of marriage
Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, a gay
Democrat from Princeton, pointed out
that Christies political stumping on
behalf of Mitt Romneys presidential cam-
paign has taken him to Iowa and New
Hampshire and that hes also recently
traveled to New York, Massachusetts,
and Washington, DC all jurisdictions
with marriage equality.
And in none of these places, has he
seen any diminishment of the institution
of marriage other than perhaps when
he is in the presence of Newt Gingrich,
Gusciora said, poking the former US
House speaker for his three marriages
and his affair with his current wife dur-
ing his second marriage.
The world has changed since the Leg-
islature last debated a marriage equal-
ity bill in 2009, said Steven Goldstein,
the chairman of Garden State Equality
(GSE), the states LGBT lobby. Today,
states with a combined population of
more than 35 million people have mar-
riage equality The days are over when
marriage equality was the third rail of
American politics.
With Republican Assemblywoman
Mary Pat Angelini pre-
pared to support the
marriage equality bill as
she did the last time it
came up and GOP Sena-
tor Jennifer Beck having
moved from opposition to
support, Goldstein said
the bill can now fairly be
described as bipartisan
in both legislative cham-
bers. Angelini and Beck
represent the Asbury Park
Asked how much confi-
dence GSE has that Sen-
ate and Assembly lead-
ers can deliver on their
commitment, Goldstein
responded, Do things look good? Yes.
But we dont take anything for granted.
We need every vote for passage.
Democrats hold 24 of 40 seats in
the Senate and 47 of 80 seats in the
Having enough votes to override a
Christie veto is likely another matter alto-
gether. Noting that Vermont is the only
Governor Chris Christie, currently a darling of Republicans nationwide, is opposed to marriage equality.
NEW JERSEY, continued on p.17
Senate President Steve
Sweeney and Assembly
Speaker Sheila Oliver both
pledged speedy action and
predicted victory.
NJ Congressional Dems Push for Trenton Gay Marriage
Action State legislative majorities press bill; Christie is roadblock
| January 18, 2012 15
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January 18, 2012 |
Canada Reafrms All Same-Sex Marriages Stephen Harpers
Conservatives back off court ling questioning foreign couples vows
n a dramatic turnaround that
happened in scarcely more than
24 hours, the government of
Canadian Prime Minister Ste-
phen Harper has repudiated
a Justice Department brief that had
threatened the validity of thousands
of marriages by US same-sex couples
Marriages performed in Canada that
arent recognized in the couples home
jurisdiction will be recognized in Cana-
da, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said
in Toronto on January 13, according to
the CTV Television Network. I want to
be very clear that our government has
no intention of reopening the debate on
the definition of marriage.
One day before, an international
uproar broke out over a story in the
Globe and Mail of Toronto that a Justice
Department filing in the divorce case
of a lesbian couple from outside Canada
who married there argued that their
marriage had never been valid.
In this case, neither party had the
legal capacity to marry a person of the
same sex under the laws of their respec-
tive domiciles Florida and the United
Kingdom, wrote Sean Gaudet, the Jus-
tice Department attorney. As a result,
their marriage is not legally valid under
Canadian law.
The newspaper reported that more
than 5,000 of the 15,000 same-sex mar-
riages that have taken place in Canada
since 2003 involved foreign couples, pre-
sumably the bulk of them from the Unit-
ed States.
Within hours of the Globe and Mail
story, both the prime minister and Nich-
olson began to back-pedal, stating the
government was not aiming to curtail the
rights of any couples married there.
Foreign couples who married in Can-
ada already faced the hurdle of having
to reside in that nation for a year prior
to obtaining a divorce which, accord-
ing to the Globe and Mail, the couple
in question, who are not identified by
name, had not done but the govern-
ment attorney took the further position
that their marriage had not been valid in
the first place.
The couple were in court seeking a
waiver of the residency requirement in
order to end their marriage. Far from
curbing the rights of foreign same-sex
couples to marry, Harpers Conservative
government now appears prepared to
ease the burden on those from outside
Canada who wish to divorce but cannot
do so at home because their marriage is
not recognized there. Nicholson blamed
the former Liberal government for not
addressing that legislative gap, CTV
The original Globe and Mail story
hinted at the storm about to erupt in
response to the Justice Department fil-
ing. Martha McCarthy, the couples
Toronto attorney who was active in the
marriage equality push there, noted that
Ontario tried to dodge the divorce ques-
tion by kicking the case up to the fed-
eral level, and told the newspaper, It is
appalling and outrageous that two levels
of government would be taking this posi-
tion without ever having raised it before,
telling anybody it was an issue, or doing
anything proactive about it. All the while,
they were handing out licenses to per-
form marriages across the country to
non-resident people.
Evan Wolfson, who heads up Freedom
to Marry in New York, told the Globe and
Mail, One of the benefits that marriage
gives to families is security and clarity.
They dont have to deal with a tangle of
uncertainty. If the Canadian government
is serious about trying to cast doubt on
peoples marriages, it not only insults
their dignity and hurts them personally,
but it raises all sorts of complex legal and
economic questions for everyone who
deals with them employ-
ers, businesses, banks, and
on and on.
Asked later how seriously
he took the possibility that
the court filing might in fact
reflect Harpers desire to curb
marriage by foreign same-sex
couples, Wolfson told Gay
City News, I am not going to
assume this is some cleverly
thought-out conspiracy to
push back on marriage rights
when it very well may be just
a blunder that the govern-
ment will have to figure out
how to resolve.
Then alluding to com-
ments Harper made in Hali-
fax appearing to back off the filing, Wolf-
son added, My hope is that the prime
ministers response indicates that.
Asked by CTV about the Globe and
Mail story, Harper responded, We
have no intention further of opening or
reopening this issue. This, I gather, is a
Stephen Harpers Conservative government repudiated a controversial legal filing from just the day before.
/ O
Foreign couples who
married in Canada already
faced the hurdle of having
to reside in that nation for
a year prior to obtaining a
CANADA, continued on p.17
| January 18, 2012 17
state where the Legislature successfully
overrode a governors marriage equality
veto, Goldstein said, We are realistic.
GSE has worked constructively with
Christies office on a number of major
issues, and Goldstein gave the governor
particularly high marks on his embrace
of the states new bullying law. Still, he
conceded that moving Christie at this
point is not in the cards.
He said he is going to veto it and we
take him as his word, Goldstein said.
We are not nave. Thats not going to
What GSE hopes for is
that the governor will not
stand in the way of GOP
legislators joining their col-
leagues Beck and Angelini
in supporting the measure.
Goldstein noted GSEs
partnership with Free-
dom to Marry and the
Human Rights Campaign,
two nationwide groups, in
pushing the legislation in
Trenton. He also pointed to
Lambda Legals advocacy
in front of the New Jersey
Supreme Court.
Lambda has gone back
to court, armed with the
evidence the civil union law
is failing to live up to the 2006 judicial
mandate to deliver all the rights of mar-
riage. The suit has not yet gone to trial,
but Goldstein does not think Christie
would demagogue a ruling in favor of
marriage equality.
Chris Christie is right of center, but
he is not Rick Santorum, he said. I
believe that Chris Christies most impor-
tant issues are downsizing government
and improving the economy. Acknowl-
edging the governor is not prepared to
enhance the legal standing of same-sex
couples, Goldstein added, He is not
obsessed with denying gay and lesbian
couples their rights.
In a written statement, Marc Solomon,
Freedom to Marrys national campaign
director, said, What New Jerseys legis-
lative leaders are telling us clearly today
is that the Garden State values its gay
and lesbian citizens fully, and does not
accept treating same-sex couples and
their families as second-class citizens, as
it presently does with civil unions.
NEW JERSEY, from p.14
case before the courts where Canadian
lawyers have taken particular positions
based on the law. But I will be asking
officials to provide me more details with
this particular case.
That answer was the first hint that the
brief may not have been vetted at senior
levels in the federal Justice Department.
Shortly after the prime ministers com-
ments, Nicholson went further in trying
to tamp down the uproar .
I want to be very clear that the gov-
ernment has no intention of reopening
the debate on the definition of marriage,
he said, a comment he repeated the fol-
lowing day. This case today involved the
fact that, under current law, some mar-
riages performed in Canada could not be
dissolved in Canada. I will be looking at
options to clarify the law so that marriag-
es performed in Canada can be undone
in Canada.
Longtime New York gay activist Bren-
dan Fay, who married his husband,
Thomas Moulton, in Toronto in 2003,
co-founded Civil Marriage Trail, an orga-
nization that helped US couples who
wished to marry in Canada. He recalled
an event in Toronto the following year in
which a number of same-sex US couples
married in the presence of that citys
The Liberal governments minister
of foreign affairs, also on hand, told the
group that with many in the US angry
at Canada over its refusal to participate
in the invasion of Iraq, it was heartening
to see Americans traveling there to cel-
ebrate the equal rights offered above the
49th parallel.
Recognizing the uncertainty and anxi-
ety the Globe and Mail story was creating
among US couples who married in Can-
ada, a group of leading marriage equality
advocates and litigation groups released
a joint statement late on January 12
stating, There is no reason to suggest
that Canadian marriages of same-sex
couples are in jeopardy, or to advocate
that people try to marry again else-
where, as that could cause these couples
unnecessary complications, anxiety, and
Shortly after that, Wolfson, who had
signed on to the joint statement, said
in an email message to Gay City News
that he had spoken several times to my
Canadian counterparts, who have heard
from the government that this will be
The following day, the Harper govern-
ment formally committed to that fix.
Christie said he is going to
veto it and we take him as
his word, Goldstein said.
We are not nave. Thats
not going to change.
CANADA, from p.16
January 18, 2012 |
ne wishes that the
half-written play
one that relies
heavily on exposi-
ti on rather than
character development and on
sketchy, cinematic scenes that
take the place of explored situ-
ations were more an anomaly
than it is these days. The audi-
ence at such an outing is left
with impressions of people and
events but without enlighten-
ment, engagement, or under-
standing. The play becomes
a Rorschach test, asking the
viewer to fill in what the play-
wright has not supplied.
The latest example of this
trend is Zayd Dohrns Outside
People, getting its premiere at
the Vineyard in a co-production
with Naked Angels. It is a fish-
out-of-water story about a man
at the end of his career rope
who travels to China to seek a
new life redemption even
and who has to negotiate the
complex ways of Chinese busi-
ness and love.
If this sounds
familiar to you,
thats not sur-
prising. It is vir-
tually the same
story as David
Henry Hwangs
Chi ngl i sh,
now on Broadway a much
better piece and a fully writ-
ten play.
Outside People tells the
story of Malcolm, in Beijing
to work for his former Stan-
ford roommate, Da Wei, who is
known as David. David intro-
duces Malcolm to his girlfriend,
Samanya, and a young woman,
Xiao Mei, who serves as a lan-
guage tutor. Though communi-
cation between them is a prob-
lem, Malcolm falls
in love with her
and i ntends to
take her back to
the US until David
intervenes. Mal-
col m expresses
shock when hear-
ing that, despite
her protestations of love, Xiao
Mei may want to marry him
Flunking Social Studies Outside People is an
incomplete play and a complete disappointment
he printed program for Ded-
alus Lounge, Gary Duggans
play about three woebegone
misfits around Christmas-
time, thoughtfully includes
a glossary of Irish references. Thats
because the work is set in Dublin, where
it originally premiered, and the cre-
ators wisely chose to retain much of the
authentic language, refusing to dumb
it down for us Americans. Indeed, one
of the chief strengths of the unsettling
drama lies in its sharp, lyrical dialogue.
Yet while the glossary offers defini-
tions for slagging (trading biting insults
among friends), mincer (a campy gay
man), and wanking (okay, we already
know that one), it neglects to explain the
titular reference.
As any Irishman knows, it refers to
Stephen Dedalus, the protagonist in
James Joyces literary masterworks, who
in turn was based on Daedalus in Greek
mythology. An artist and inventor, not
only did he become lost in a labyrinth of
his own making, but he was a high-flying
dreamer who didnt fully think his plans
through and paid the price. You get
burned if you soar too close to the sun.
Well, its safe to say the three 30-ish
friends who try to drink away their trou-
bles at the Dedalus Lounge struggle with
similar dashed endeavors. Foresight is
not their forte.
Danny (Anthony Rapp), a geek wear-
ing unstylish, ill-fitting clothes, is try-
ing to get a Queen tribute band off the
ground. Sporting tawny hair and a wisp
of a stache, his Freddie Mercury imper-
sonation is sadly lacking. Though he
feels a secret kinship with his outsider
visionary idol, he doesnt have nearly the
charisma or the confidence, and his plan
seems destined to die.
Delphine (Dee Roscioli) is having a
doomed affair with a Parliament member
who may or may not leave his wife. And
feisty Daragh (James Kautz, in impossi-
bly tight black jeans) is a neer do well,
a battered pervert who has
taken to shoplifting and trad-
ing hardcore kink for cash,
propelling him deeper into a
dark maze of misery. Make
shit up as you go along is
his motto.
Sounds like dreary stuff.
Fortunately, director Chris
Henry has punched up the
production with such eye-
popping flourishes as gritty
video projections (courtesy
of David Bengali) and large
calendars on shades that
periodically roll down from
the rafters, marking
time with a menacing
thwack. Occasionally a
character will step out
of the action and deliver
a plaintive soliloquy.
A pair of interpretive
dancers (Curtis How-
ard and Heather Phil-
lips, choreographed by Joann M.
Hunter) artfully enact a sexual encoun-
ter and a few fantasy sequences. And the
handful of rocking original Queen-esque
numbers, co-written by Daniel A. Weiss
and Rapp, add welcome jolts of energy to
the proceedings. No matter that theyre
pieces of his imagination. At one point,
Rapp strips down to his vest (transla-
tion: wifebeater undershirt) and briefs in
an attempt to evoke the genius, flamboy-
ant glam-rock icon.
All of the lead performances are
remarkably strong its always a treat
to see Rapp, the openly gay original
Rent boy, gyrating and wailing to a
rock score. You almost forget that the
cast members are not real Dubliners.
These efforts are not enough, however,
to distract us from the plays disconnects
and contrivances.
In an act of desperation both on
the part of the characters and perhaps
the playwright the trio feels the need
to connect on a sexual level. With each
other. Sure, I suppose its not unheard of
for friends of 15 years to one day wake
up and act on repressed mutual attrac-
tions, but it feels false here. Balls-deep
in your best
f r i e nd, a s
Daragh so elo-
quently puts
In fact, some
stretches find
t he s e s up -
po s e d be s t
friends behav-
ing like passing acquaintances. They
know scant basic facts about each oth-
ers families, for instance. Danny and
Daraghs sudden bout of bisexuality
seems to erupt out of nowhere.
Despite the abundance of inventive
ideas and occasional flashes of raw, scin-
tillating brilliance, this plucky little Off
Off Broadway piece doesnt hang togeth-
er or feel satisfying. My diagnosis? Id say
that the creative team suffers from a bit
of the Dedalus complex as well.
Dublin Dreamers Delusional mists embrace illicit love,
masochism, and Freddie Mercury
The Vineyard Theatre
108 E. 15th St. near Irving Pl.
Tue. at 7 p.m.
Wed.-Sat. at 8 p.m.
Sat., Sun. at 3 p.m.
Or 212-353-0303
Interart Theatre Annex
500 W. 52nd St., second .
Through Jan. 30
Thu.-Sat. at 8 p.m.; Sun at 6 p.m.
Other shows listed at ticket site
Or 800-838-3006
James Kautz, Anthony Rapp, and Dee Roscioli in Gary Duggans Dedalus
Lounge, directed by Chris Henry.
Nelson Lee and Matthew Dellapina are former Stanford roommates in Zayd Dohrns Outside People.
OUTSIDE PEOPLE, continued on p.21
| January 18, 2012 19
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cot t i sh di r ect or
L y n n e Ra ms a y
hasnt had an easy
career. Since 1999,
shes only managed
to make three features Rat-
catcher, Morvern Callar, and,
now, We Need To Talk About
She went nine years between
her last two films, largely
because of the time she wasted
trying to get an adaptation of
Alice Sebolds novel The Lovely
Bones off the ground. For rea-
sons not altogether clear, the
project fell through. Peter Jack-
son eventually directed a medi-
ocre film of The Lovely Bones,
and its failed attempts at a mor-
bid yet lyrical atmosphere sug-
gest a Ramsay film gone horri-
bly awry.
We Need To Talk About
Kevin, adapted from Lio-
nel Shrivers fine Columbine-
inspired novel, premiered at
Cannes last year, where it drew
mixed reactions.
Ramsays years in
development purga-
tory since her last
film seem to have
brought a newfound
anger to her work.
To the extent that
female filmmakers
receive any encour-
agement at all in our
culture, anger is not
an emotion theyre rewarded for
We Need To Talk About
Kevin introduces something
else new to her work its the
first Ramsay film Id call femi-
nist. The film demolishes the
cultural myth that all women
are destined to be mothers,
probing the consciousness of a
woman for whom motherhood
is a disaster at first, for her
and her son, and eventually, for
her community.
The first 20 minutes of We
Need To Talk About Kevin are
radically nightmarish. A non-
linear montage follows Evas
(Tilda Swinton) thoughts as she
struggles to get on with her life
in the wake of terrible trauma
what we later learn were the
murders perpetrated by her
15-year-old son Kevin (Ezra
After the opening reel, the
film becomes more conven-
tional, though not wholly linear.
Once a travel writer, Eva meets
Franklin (John C. Reilly) in
Tribeca and becomes pregnant.
After she gives birth to Kevin,
the couple move to suburban
Almost as soon as Kevin is
born, his mother feels an antip-
athy toward him, and the feeling
is mutual. When she gives birth
to a daughter,
Eva starts to
worry that the
little girl is in
danger from
Kevin, and her
sense proves
right. The boy
g r o ws i nt o
a smart but
cynical teen-
ager who turns out to be more
dangerous than Eva could have
We Need To Talk About
Kevin keeps the teenagers
school massacre and all the
other violence off-screen
and refrains from treating it as
a dramatic climax. (The audi-
ence knows its coming from
the hostility other characters
direct toward Eva at the very
beginning.) Ramsay finds other
means of signifying Kevins
momentum forward toward
the tragedy. The film is bathed
in the color red. Early on, she
shows a bizarre ritualistic game
in which teenagers throw toma-
toes at each other until theyre
totally covered in the vegetables
sticky juice. Evas house is van-
dalized with red paint. Even if
blood is never shed onscreen,
these substitutes keep its pres-
ence felt.
Was Kevin born bad or did
Evas disdain for him turn him
into a monster? The drama of
We Need To Talk About Kevin
rests on this question. It also
suggests that Kevins violence
is badly curdled creative ener-
gy. When he throws a fit, the
resulting mess looks like an
Abstract Expressionist paint-
Kevin s intelligence and
apparent maturity, coupled
with his open rebellion, would
make him a challenge for any
parent. Swintons excellent per-
formance suggests a desperate
inability to cope with the boy.
She acts as though shes stuck
on a treadmill forced to run just
a little too fast for her abilities.
Eva is not helped by Frank-
lins indulgence of him. Played
by Reilly as an amiable good
ol boy, Franklin sees nothing
wrong with Kevins behavior,
making excuses even for his
obvious misdeeds.
Kevin himself seems beyond
discipline or lecturing. When
Eva takes him out to dinner for
a talk, he predicts exactly what
shes going to tell him.
Ramsay takes a few potshots
at American suburbia, which
are the least interesting aspects
of We Need To Talk About
Kevin. However, as critic Glenn
Kenny has suggested, We Need
To Talk About Kevin doubles
as an art film and a horror film.
Rather than recycling Happi-
ness and American Beauty,
as so many filmmakers have
done, and thinking shes come
up with some profound state-
ment about American conformi-
ty, Ramsay has created a poetic
vision of American violence and
When Talking Fails Lynne Ramsay explores a familys
abject failure in We Need to Talk about Kevin
Directed by Lynne Ramsay
Oscilloscope Laboratories
Angelika Film Center
18 W. Houston St. at Mercer St.
Lincoln Plaza Cinema
1886 Broadway at 63rd St.
Ezra Miller and Tilda Swinton in Lynne Ramsays We Need to Talk About Kevin.
simply for the opportunity to leave her
lower class, rural life behind. He returns
to America alone, sadder but wiser.
The play is full of gaping logic holes
the playwright has either ignored or
manipulated to tell the story. How could
Malcolm have lived with David at Stan-
ford and know so little about Chinese
culture on matters of both business
and courtship? Why would we believe
Malcolm is serious about taking a man-
agement role in Davids company when
he dresses like a slacker in a business
culture that prides itself on presenta-
tion and formality? And if David thinks
Xiao Mei is beneath his class, he cer-
tainly wouldnt ask her to socialize with
him and his girlfriend, but would instead
introduce her to Malcolm in a way that
doesnt blur status boundaries.
Ironically, the day after I saw this pro-
duction, I arrived in China on a business
trip and the front page of the English lan-
guage paper had a story on a major new
study finding that women there marry for
financial advantage and security. Its cer-
tainly no secret, and tourists and busi-
ness travelers visiting China and stay-
ing in a nice hotel are likely to witness
ostentatious weddings that celebrate the
wealth that marriage can promise.
David emerges as the plays one truly
sympathetic character, trying to adapt
to Western customs while not complete-
ly eradicating his Chinese self, but his
struggle is lost in the inept story of Mal-
colm and Xiao Mei.
As tends to happen with incomplete
plays, what pleasures are to be had
come from the cast. In this case, the best
performances are from the two second-
ary characters. Sonequa Martin-Green
is feisty and sexy as Samanya, Davids
sophisticated girlfriend and the daugh-
ter of an African diplomat. Nelson Lee as
David is the best thing in this show. He
captures his characters conflict as well
as his malleable morality and laser focus
on business success.
Matt Dellapina has only one note to
play as Malcolm and he hits it inces-
santly. We never really understand
where his transformation comes from,
so his performance is fatally hobbled by
the script. Li Jun Li is charming as Xiao
Mei, but her characters lack of complex-
ity robs her performance of what could
make it compelling.
Audiences will likely exit the perfor-
mance discussing the play that might
have been, and no one is any better for
January 18, 2012 | 22
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t may be that nobody does big
spectacle better than the Chi-
nese with a tradition of unlim-
ited manpower that can turn out
sets, costumes, props, and casts
of thousands on call. The China Jinling
Dance Company brought the legendary
16th century tale The Peony Pavilion
to Lincoln Centers David H. Koch The-
ater for just four performances, but the
elaborate production trappings rivaled
anything on Broadway.
Tumbling, contortions, and high-fly-
ing mix off-handedly with modern-ish
movement lots of foot-flexed exten-
sions, folk-inspired footwork, and shift-
ing group formations in choreographic
pageantry created by Ying Zhiqi, Lu Ling,
and Wu Ning. Men and women alike
have six oclock high extensions, and the
women arch into rubbery backbends.
Written as a play at the end of the
16th century by bureaucrat-turned-
playwright Tang Xianzu, the four-act
ballet is a story of adolescent romance
(think Romeo and Juliet) with a jour-
ney to the underworld (as in Orpheus
and Eurydice), but with a happy ending
( la Sleeping Beauty.)
Du Liniang, daughter of a magistrate,
falls in love in a dream with young schol-
ar Liu Mengmei, and when she wakens
to find hes not there, she dies of sad-
ness, but not before drawing a self-por-
trait as a testimony of her beauty to the
living world. Liu stumbles upon her por-
trait in a market on his way to his exams
and buys it. Her wandering spirit sees
this and rushes to reunite with him no
matter that hes alive and shes dead.
Du Liniang then suffers the torments
of Hell for transgressing the bounds of
death, but the Infernal Judge (ferocious
Li Yanfeng) gives her a reprieve and the
happy pair reunites in perpetuity, wear-
ing a robe made with miles of hot pink
fabric embroidered with peonies trailing
behind them from the orchestra pit to
the top of an upstage stairway.
Theres never any doubt about whos
happy, sad, hot to trot; facial expres-
sions telegraph emotions. On opening
night, the understudies went on, due to
the injury of a principal (Hu Qinxin or
her partner Xu Peng.) Xu Xinyu and Han
Bo, respectively, were stalwart substi-
tutes. Their love duets in Act I, when
she dreams of him, and in Act III, when
they reunite are full of doe-eyed moon-
ing but also risky and difficult lifting pas-
This narrative is played out in panto-
mimic detail, using every imaginable the-
atrical device. Doctors trying to cure Du
A Technicolor Garden David H.
Koch Theater burst at its seams with
China Jinlings Peony Pavilion
The elaborate production trappings for Peony Pavilion rival anything on Broadway.
JINLING DANCE, continued on p.27
| January 18, 2012
lbert Nobbs gives
actress Glenn Close
who also produced,
co-wrote the screen-
play, and penned the
closing song lyrics a plum part as a
woman who poses as a male butler in
19th century Ireland.
Addressing Victorian era gender roles,
the story is a pet project for Close. She
won an Obie in 1982 for her performance
as Nobbs in a stage version of George
Moores short story. Her screen work is
now generating Oscar buzz.
Although the character was familiar
to the actress, becoming the reserved
Albert Nobbs, Close explained in a recent
phone interview, provided a welcome
change of pace from several over-the-
top characters for which shes won wide
notice ranging from Patty Hewes in
TVs Damages to Cruella de Vil in 101
Dalmatians and even Alex Forrest in
Fatal Attraction.
Yeah, it was wonderful, really won-
derful to play Albert after doing Cruella
and Patty, Close said with a laugh. Ive
had a run of really strong and really out-
there women, so to go to someone very
internal, it was a great challenge very
The actress insisted that despite out-
ward appearances, Albert Nobbs is a
I never think of Nobbs as a he, Close
said adamantly. She puts on a disguise
and looks out at the world with downcast
eyes. Servants were not supposed to look
people in the eye. They were supposed to
face the wall when people passed by.
Alberts reaction shots, as well as
her look and voice, are what make the
actress performance so noteworthy.
In one memorable scene, she appears
wide-eyed when a stranger, Hubert Page
(Janet McTeer), with whom Albert shares
a bed one night, reveals her breasts. Page
illustrates that she is practicing the same
gender deception as Nobbs, and the two
women soon become friends.
Other private moments show Albert
wondering about Huberts marriage and
silently observing guests in the hotel
hallways. At my mention of a costume
party scene, Close interjected a com-
ment about one of her favorite moments
in the film, when the hotel doctor (played
by Brendan Gleeson) says to her, Were
disguised as ourselves.
Little does he know! Close said with
a laugh.
Close explained that her inspiration
for the characters comportment and
movement were based on Charlie Chap-
Hes of the human comedy, and there
should be aspects of comedy and sad-
ness to Nobbs, she said. His shoes are
always too big and heavy, and his pants
too long. That aspect is unconsciously
comic. I was always very influenced by
Laurel and Hardy and Emmett Kelly,
that comic clown with Ringling Brothers
Circus, when I was growing up.
As for Nobbs deep male voice, Close
learned to develop her lower register by
working with a voice and dialect coach.
Recalling that her William and Mary the-
ater professor, Howard Scammon, taught
her, You can have as great a speaking
range as you do a singing range, she
said, But thats tricky. Her coach gave
her notes throughout the filming that
helped her keep her dialect and tone
consistently at the right level.
The film, directed by Rodrigo Garca
(who also worked with Close on Things
You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her
and Nine Lives), is shot in a lovely bur-
nished style. There are brief flights of
fantasy, along with serious episodes, as
when an epidemic takes over the hotel.
Most of the drama concerns Alberts
efforts to hide both her female identity
and a cache of money concealed in her
floorboards. When Joe (Aaron Johnson),
who has finagled a job at the hotel, eggs
on his girlfriend Helen (Mia Wasikows-
ka), a maid, to romance Albert to get hold
of his money, Nobbs is oblivious to the
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A Muted Victorian Rebel Glenn Close is Albert Nobbs,
who knows her place as a male butler
GLENN CLOSE, continued on p.27
Glenn Close is adamant that Albert Nobbs is a she.
January 18, 2012 |
diot, moi, I forgot to
i ncl ude Bonni e &
Cl yde on my l i st of
Agnes Moorehead Award
(Aggie) winners for Best
Live Performances of 2012.
Sadly, this wonderful show
closed on December 30, and I
made sure to attend its 69th
and final performance. Along
with everyone else in the packed
Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, I
now feel part of a special club,
like obsessive fans of other
cherished, underappreciated-
in-their-time shows like House
of Flowers (1954), In the Sum-
mer House (1953), and even
the original production of Fol-
lies (1971).
While singing such poignant-
ly resonant songs as This World
Will Remember Us and Dyin
Aint So Bad, the cast admira-
bly kept their composure to a
wondrously professional degree
although Kelsey Fowler as
young Bonnie sounded a little
quavery, understandably and
delivered a flawlessly moving
performance that approached
the mythic.
Director Jeff Calhoun was
there and, although hes landing
on his feet with the upcoming
musical Newsies, which will
star his brilliant Clyde, Jeremy
Jordan, he was very emotional,
receiving the sympathy and
good wishes of fans and friends,
including producer Kathleen
Raitt and Noah Racey.
Never do a show in this the-
ater again! Its cursed! one of
them said to him, as he nodded
in assent.
God, its a good show isnt
it? he said to me, and when
I mentioned its idiotic lack of
critical support, he replied, I
dont blame the critics, so much
as I do some of the producers. If
theyd only had enough faith in
it to ride out the winter, Im sure
wed have been okay!
I agreed. This was an audi-
ence show if eer there was, as
witness the thunderous ova-
tions it got through the night,
decidedly unpopulated by
press members, with even the
straightest looking tourist jocks
frantically angling for a better
view of the stage. If, like me,
you just cannot get enough of
the talented Jordan, dont miss
his impressive film debut in the
just-released Joyful Noise,
a terrifically enjoyable movie
musical in which, especially
on a sizzling cover of Ushers
Yeah!, he displays his triple
threat talent with all the lan of
the young James Cagney. (Dolly
Parton, however, needs to stop
with the cosmetic surgery on
that once gorgeous face as she
is about to end up in Joan Riv-
ers territory. Thankfully, her
plangent soprano remains as
sweet as ever.)
Jordan sang a bang-up Star
Spangled Banner at the World
Team Tennis matches last
summer, which you can see at
ordans wonderful,
heartbreaking Bon-
nie, Laura Osnes,
popped up at the
92nd Street Ys Lyr-
ics and Lyricists tribute to those
ebullient songwriters Gus Kahn
and Walter Donaldson, Makin
Whoopee (seen January 8). The
evening was completely stolen,
however, by Jason Graae, whose
Jerry Herman show, Perfect
Hermany, was also eminent-
ly deserving of an Aggie. As
effervescently funny as ever, he
made mention of the fact that
three of his comic songs had
the ubiquitous Baby in the
title, but I wish directors would
give him more range. He has an
ardent baritone of the most lyric
sort, and Id have loved to hear
him on My Buddy and You
Stepped Out of a Dream, two
songs done by the more predict-
able Howard McGillin.
ollywood chick flick
creators are for-
ever citing those
romantic comedies
of the 1930s-40s
and their female stars, although
very little evidence of their wit
and glamour make it to the big
screen these days. Two good
examples of the genres second
tier efforts, both directed by that
improv-loving comic wiz, Grego-
ry LaCava, are being screened
by Anthology Film Archives
January 27-29 (anthologyfilm-
Unfinished Business (1941)
stars Irene Dunne as a small
town girl, just landed in Man-
hattan, who falls in love with
Robert Montgomery as a drunk-
en playboy and brother of the
asshole who has seduced and
dumped her (Preston Foster).
Dunne was perhaps the most
versatile of the periods come-
diennes, adept at farce and
drama, with a lovely soprano
voice (Magnolia in the first
1929 road company of Show
Boat). She shows this gift off
here delightfully in a rendition
of When You and I Were Young,
Maggie (in a high camp Howard
Greer ensemble) and a hilari-
ous jingle for the Caf Kohinoor,
where shes employed as a tele-
phone receptionist.
Dunnes brittle, super-arch
comedic style was loathed by
critics James Agee and Pauline
Kael, but I find her hyper self-
awareness both fun and fasci-
nating that gurglingly ador-
able laugh, proffered perfect
teeth, and suggestive tongue
play. She was a bit like the
Streep of her day.
She Marri ed Her Boss
(1935) is driven by that far sub-
tler farceur Claudette Colbert,
who once cited Ina Claire as
her idol. She had the rare gift
of combining down-to-earth
sensibility with the most fluid
elegance of delivery and move-
ment, and was never at her best
in heavy screwball slapstick
stuff like Bluebeards Eighth
Wife or Its a Wonderful World,
which Dunne would have made
more cutesy obvious use of.
Here, Colberts a hyper-ef-
ficient secretary who marries
her employer (the intermittently
exciting Melvyn Douglas) and
must contend with his bitchy
sister (coldly typecast Katherine
Alexander) and brat of a daugh-
ter (the charming, recently
deceased Edith Fellows). Col-
berts delightful scenes with
the kid are the films highlights,
in which she displays a ruth-
less tough love that should be
studied by every parent of every
squalling child on Upper Broad-
But the Colbert vehicle in
most need of revival is Tovarich
(1937), Anatole Litvaks spar-
kling comedy about migr aris-
tocratic White Russians pressed
into domestic service, in which
she was beautifully partnered
by Charles Boyer. The divine
Isabel Jeans (cherishable Aunt
Alicia in Gigi) has one of her
best screen roles in it; aristo-
cratically evil Basil Rathbone,
funny Melville Cooper, angelic
Anita Louise, and hot Mau-
rice Murphy also appear; and
it was later turned into a stage
musical for Vivien Leigh, whose
endearingly toneless basso pro-
fundo won her the 1963 Tony.
iego Rivera:
Murals for
the Muse-
um of Mod-
ern Art (11
W. 53rd St., through
May 14; fea-
tures one of my favorite
artists at one of the most
exciting moments in his
career. In 1931-32, he
was in New York work-
ing on eight murals for
MoMA, featuring scenes
from his native Mexico
as well as contempo-
rary New York. These
still glowing works are
on display, as are his
exquisite preliminary
watercolor sketches
and also archival docu-
ments and designs for
his aborted Rockefeller
Center mural, which
was terminated for its
Oops, Without the Texas Drawl Bye-bye B&C, comic
goddesses, Diegos passion, doc delights
Delicious Claudette Colbert, gowned by Kalloch, in Gregory LaCavas She Married Her Boss, at
the Anthology Film Archives.
IN THE NOH, continued on p.25
Frozen Assets (1931-32), part of Diego Rivera: Murals
for the Museum of Modern Art.
| January 18, 2012
eter Gelb came up
with the idea of tak-
ing gems from 18th
century baroque
operas, translating
them into English, and resetting
them into a fast-paced, familiar
storyline. The idea was to revive
that periods tradition of the
pasticcio old music from
various composers grafted onto
a new libretto.
I wanted to play the baroque
card, but with a faster dra-
matic rhythm tailored to mod-
ern attention spans, Gelb
explained to the New York
Times. The risk in this approach
is getting baroque opera dumb-
ed down for the lowest common
Fortunately, on the music
side, Gelb recruited William
Christie, whose credentials and
taste as an expert scholar and
performer of baroque music
are unimpeachable. On the
dramatic side, Jeremy Sams,
a musico-dramatic polymath,
provided the new text and story,
while the direction and design
were entrusted to the brilliant
team of Phelim McDermott and
Julian Crouch.
The story is a mash-up of
Shakespeares The Tempest
and A Midsummer Nights
Dream, while the music is
mostly Handel and Vivaldi, with
a smattering of Rameau, Pur-
cell, Leclair, Ferrandini, and
Campra. (Handel in his lifetime
was no stranger to recycling
his own and other composers
music.) The individual ele-
ments are all of excellent qual-
ity, but do they cohere into a
satisfying dramatic and musical
whole or do we get a haphazard
Surprisingly the varied musi-
cal styles cohere fairly well
only the Rameau ballet music,
with its reedy, percussive
sound, seemed out of place.
Handels music definitely took
the honors, with Vivaldi reveal-
ing rhythmic energy but less
emotional depth and dramatic
Still, the overall effect is simi-
lar to the jukebox musicals pro-
liferating on Broadway. Taking
already composed music out of
its original context often gener-
alizes and flattens its emotional
specificity. The da capo arias
are shorn of repeats and oppor-
tunities for ornamentation.
Sams new lyrics are spir-
ited but prosaic verses of little
elegance that do provide an
element of consistency. The
plot takes the four lovers of A
Midsummer Nights Dream
and washes them up on Pros-
peros island. Prospero, mean-
while, is at odds with his former
lover and the original ruler of
the island, the witch Sycorax,
Calibans mother. Ariel is fused
with Puck as the instigator of
romantic confusion.
The new plot takes much of
the fairy mystery and magic
and all of Shakespeares poet-
ry out of the original plays,
focusing mainly on romantic
farce. We get a lot of cleverly
devised action but little char-
acter development. Sams has
devised a smart, attractive
entertainment that ultimately
is rather shallow. Despite Gelbs
request for dramatic propul-
sion, the two acts are long and
the action loses momentum in
Act II.
Poetry and magic are pro-
vided by the fantastical stage
pictures of Crouch and McDer-
mott. The conventions of the
baroque theater are fused with
modern technology. A series of
recessed proscenium arches
with floating scrims provide a
versatile background for bril-
liant computerized projections.
The singers, however, always
remain front and center with
the scenery providing a hospi-
table environment for dramatic
The singers are a motley
crew of established baroque
specialists, a veteran tenor
superstar, and young artists
from the Mets Lindemann pro-
gram. David Daniels as Prospe-
ro, despite some indisposition,
remains a potent vocal and dra-
matic presence. Mezzo Joyce
DiDonato transformed from
hag to glamorous sorceress as
a sensual imposing Sycorax. In
baroque repertory, she is better
classified as a soprano; some
of the music dipped below her
best range.
Danielle de Niese as Ariel
gamboled about the stage with
brassy gusto. Her tone, though
agile, lacks distinction, turning
tinny and shrill at the register
extremes. Luca Pisaroni happily
buried his dashing looks under
grotesque make-up as a color-
ful, often comic Caliban. Plcido
Domingo in his 136th role as
the deus ex machina Neptune
looked dazed and confused
rather than godly, but still could
pump out impressive sounds
near the top of his range.
It is the younger people that
really shine here. Lisette Orope-
sas shimmering silvery voice
and winsome presence made
for a bewitching Miranda. Layla
Claires radiant voice and pres-
ence as Helena proclaimed her
a soprano star of the future.
Elizabeth DeShongs deep lus-
cious mezzo excited the audi-
ence in her entrance aria.
Paul Applebys sweet lyric
tenor and Elliot Madores firm
lyric baritone took advantage
of each and every opportunity.
Anthony Roth Costanzo was
the best Handel stylist in the
cast and his focused counter-
tenor had potent presence in
the theater.
William Christie seems to
have developed a better con-
nection with the Met orchestra
than in his debut last year in
Mozarts Cos Fan Tutte. Like
Gergiev, he does better with his
own orchestra, Les Arts Floris-
The suitability and success
of the young singers suggest-
ed a possible future for The
Enchanted Island; with an
orchestral reduction, it would
be perfect for student and con-
servatory productions. Mean-
while, the gorgeous production
by Crouch and McDermott
could be adapted easily for a
real baroque masterpiece
Handels Alcina with Maestro
Christie in the pit and Joyce
DiDonato as the title sorceress.
New Yorkers have been hap-
pily taking their Handel straight
for decades. The Enchanted
Island is a diverting, musically
distinguished experiment and a
curiosity that whets the appetite
for the real thing.
Baroque Fantasy Island Mets Christie-Sams
pasticcio is diverting, musically distinguished, but attened
Lisette Oropesa and Anthony Roth Costanzo in The Enchanted Island.
/ M
prominent images of Lenin and famous
teetotaler John D. Rockefeller enjoying
nightclub life.
Riveras glorious hubris, sponsored
by the rich yet determined to criticize
them, remains a jaw-dropping wonder,
and especially striking is his rendition
of a Manhattan consisting of four lay-
ers skyscrapers, packed commuters,
a homeless shelter beneath them, and,
below that, a subterranean bank vault
where the rich hoard their gains. Atten-
tion all would-be Occupiers: this work
was done during the worst period of the
Depression, which ironically also saw
the construction of more skyscrapers
than ever before. How very resonant this
all is today.
our documentaries worth
catching: Sing Your Song,
about Harry Belafonte, which
spotlights this tireless human-
itarians incredible, Zelig-like
ability to be at the very center of history
all his life, from his Harlem birth to Hol-
lywood and Vegas, where, as the most
beautiful male on the planet, he con-
quered showbiz and broke racial ground,
and then the Civil Rights movement in
the Deep South and DC, alongside Mar-
tin Luther King and the Kennedys, to the
end of South African apartheid and his
continuing charitable work on that con-
tinent (We Are the World) and present-
day engagement on the issue of LA gang
warfare. (IFC Center, 323 Sixth Ave. at
W. Third St.;
Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston,
also at the IFC Center, opening on Janu-
ary 20, is annoyingly marred by the nar-
cissistically pushy presence of its direc-
tor, Whitney Sudler-Smith, who obvi-
ously spent more time getting his outfits
ready for his shoot than on his research
and, in the process, incurred the
hilariously sniffed displeasure of fash-
ionista Andr Leon Talley.
IN THE NOH, continued on p.26
IN THE NOH, from p.24
January 18, 2012 |
But the film does extensively
explore the designer who ruled
the 1970s and American fash-
ion with his fresh, easy-breezy
yet seriously designed sepa-
rates, whose clean look attract-
ed everyone from First Ladies
to Studio 54 habitus. Natch,
that infamous club is spotlight-
ed, with an interview with Liza
Minnelli, who, for the first time,
really talks about it, although in
a highly selective way. She says
she never saw any hanky-pan-
ky as she never went up to the
balcony how about the base-
ment? and Halston never got
into any trouble there, as she
was always with him.
Wed often enter the club,
make sure everybody was all
right, and then leave directly
out the back door, she says.
We had to work the next morn-
I guess the time I watched
him puff a joint of angel dust
on a banquette with Poutassa
de Lafayette, a famed tran-
nie, was my hallucination,
and that Broadway star in a
sweat-soaked white satin Hal-
ston being swung around the
dance floor by model Sterling
St. Jacques, just a few hours
before her matinee call for The
Act, was a Liza doppelganger.
Cmon girl, you were in rehab
and Im sure it wasnt for smok-
ing a quiet j at home! Own up,
already, to the now long-dead
fabulousness everybody wish-
es theyd known that you were
such a truly fabulous part of!
Dori Berenstein s Carol
Channing: Larger Than Life is a
fun, loving tribute to the easiest
of all divas to imitate. Now 91,
Channing miraculously found
the best fairy tale ending of
them all, having been blissfully
reunited with her childhood
sweetheart, Harry Kullijian
who, sadly, died on December
28 after all that Broadway
success and the heartache of a
crazy long-time marriage to her
controlling manager, Charles
Lowe, who squandered her for-
tune and sold off her memo-
rabilia. If anyone deserves a
Kennedy Center honor, its this
joyfully raspy dame with the
genius IQ whos brought so
much unique joy into the world
for so long. (Opens Jan. 20; car-
Finally, Joffrey: Mavericks
of American Dance (Walter
Reade Theater, Lincoln Center,
Jan. 27-28;, one
of the best dance docs ever, is
being screened as part of the
always wonderful Lincoln Cen-
ter Dance on Film Series. It
takes this most vibrantly Ameri-
can of dance companies from
its creation in 1956 by life part-
ners Robert Joffrey and Gerald
Arpino through its years of tri-
umph Twyla Tharps Deuce
Coupe! and bumpiness, to
its present happy home in Chi-
cago. Chi-towns gain is defi-
nitely NYs loss, and youll thrill
to all the artistry, as well as
shed a few tears at bittersweet
Contact David Noh at Inthe- and check out his
new blog at http://nohway.
evin Spaceys Richard III
exits la Mussolini, but he
and his Anglo-American
company under Sam Men-
des direction deliver a play
dominated more by jokes than fascist
terror. Yes, Richards audacity can and
should evoke laughter from time to time,
but a nervous laughter at how stunning-
ly vile he can be an effect perfected by
Ian McKellen in his Richard on stage and
screen in the 1990s.
Spacey gets scattered chuckles at
his goofing, which includes a Groucho
Marx imitation. He stalks the stage like
a coiled snake, but instead of the ven-
omous cobra he ought to be, he often
comes off as more Monty Python or the
King of Fredonia. Other times, it felt like
a Guy Ritchie gangster movie such as
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,
but not as trenchant and
funny. And they inexpli-
cably use grown women to
play the young princes he
will have murdered. Oy.
There is nothing I can
say to hurt this Richard
III. BAM is the last stop
on its international tour
that began in Greece in July, hit five
continents, garnered high praise from
most critics, and mostly sold out. It is
lamentably the last production in the
mostly terrific three-year Bridge Project
collaboration between the UK and the
US Londons Old Vic where Spacey is
artistic director, Mendes Neal Street Pro-
ductions, and BAM, Brooklyns crown
jewel. Perhaps my expectations were too
Mendes, who worked miracles as
artistic director of the dynamic Donmar
Warehouse in London, made his debut
as a movie director with American
Beauty, which won Oscars for Spacey
and himself. And Spacey performed the
Herculean task of saving the Old Vic
theater in London by taking its reins in
2003 and delivering a string of hits. They
are having fun here in Brooklyn, but
have sacrificed much of the menace and
majesty of the play.
Richard as Duke of Gloucester has
killed off enough people to get the crown
himself but wants a popular mandate.
We see Spacey as the hunchbacked
predator on a really big flat screen coyly
cloistered with fake monks waiting to be
coaxed into power. Here
his mugging and camping
for cheap laughs go into
overdrive, as he deflects
loud entreaties from audi-
ence plants to take the
throne. I wanted to shout,
Oh, get over yourself and
come out at the famously
closeted actor, but could not figure out
how to say it in iambic pentameter.
Sad to say, this cast also does not
come through on what is the essential
of any Shakespeare production: the clear
and cogent delivery of the poetry. I know
these characters have an awful lot to be
upset about (losing spouses and chil-
dren, and sometimes both) but some of
the performances including Spaceys
are pitched so high the screaming and
snarling get in the way of what they are
saying. Words are also lost to an intru-
sive score, mostly percussion. All this
may be okay for an audience that knows
every line of the play, but not for the rest
of us.
In truth, it is only the first two hours
before the intermission that are prob-
lematic. Hang on until after the break
and this Richard III hurtles deftly to
its conclusion glorifying Richmond
(a fine Nathan Darrow) and destroying
Richard with scenes both inventively
and clearly staged. Especially good is the
way the rivals sleep before their battle
is interwoven, the virtuous Richmond
untroubled while the ghosts of everyone
Richard has killed essentially telling him
to eat shit and die. No one is laughing at
that point, least of all Richard.
George Weinberg, a noted psycho-
therapist who has written two books on
Shakespeare, joined me at this produc-
tion. He was glad he went, but said it was
not regal or rhythmic or poetic or highly
dramatic and that it included scenes
never done, scenes that added nothing.
George liked Buckingham (Chuck Iwuji),
and I liked Queen Elizabeth (Haydn
Gwynne), but unlike sex and pizza,
Shakespeare isnt pretty good even when
its bad. This is one of those productions
where a little less (drumming, projec-
tions introducing characters, camping)
would have been more.
George and I may be in a minority.
Most of the audience gave it a standing
ovation, but it is a gesture promiscu-
ously dispensed in our time much like
Richards death sentences and Kevins
Richard III in Duck Soup Kevin Spacey camps his way
through Shakespeare at BAM
IN THE NOH, from p.25
BAMs Harvey Theater
651 Fulton St. at Ashland Pl.
Through Mar. 4
Tue.-Sat. at 7:30 pm
Sat. at 2 pm; Sun. at 3 pm
Or 718-636-4100
Kevin Spacey in the title role of Richard III, at BAM
through March 4.

Pat Cleveland, the greatest runway model of them all, working her Halston in his Olympic Tower
atelier, from Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston.
| January 18, 2012 27
Liniang scamper with potions in and out
of a series of lattice doors, like in a Marx
Brothers movie. Vividly colored, flow-
ery backdrops fly in and out to change
moods and locations. Wang Ruiguos
colorful, hyperactive lighting surrounds
the principals with glowing auras and
instantaneously shifts from one intense
hue to another.
Mo Xiaomins lush costumes range
widely in color palettes and shapes. In
the Prologue, subtle variations of white
on Liu Mengmeis fellow students robes
contrast his pale lemon one and the ver-
nal pastels of the young womens flowing
gowns. Later, in the Netherworld, bright
reds, greens, black and white, and metal-
lics assault us with aggressive tones and
textures, and flames of billowing silk
crackle behind six columns topped with
electrified jack-o-lantern heads.
When Du Liniang flies to heaven
from her deathbed, fog spills in from
the wings, masking the rolling bodies
of angels, and when they rise, blinding
white light suddenly drenches their daz-
zling white robes. Such hyperbolically
theatrical moments fill the landscape
of the Pavilion, and these visual zingers
keep jolting you from disbelief of the dra-
matic exaggeration.
Pavilion reflects its culture, created
to play to thousands in arena-sized ven-
ues. Everything about it is big even
the lovers intimate moments reach to
the rafters. No need to fill in with your
imagination; its all spread out in a lavish
visual feast.
And the music! Credited to composers
Fang Ming, Wang Wei, and Hui Peifeng,
it threatens to suffocate the action with
relentlessly climactic epic movie style
scoring. Each scene tops the last with
an orgasm of recorded orchestration at
room-shaking volume.
There were no live musicians; the the-
aters newly expanded pit was part of
the playing area. Du Liniang drops her
self-portrait onto a giant lily pad that
floats there. Later, she dives into the pit
to escape her captors and subsequently
re-emerges upside down and glides on
the demons uplifted arms, upstage into
a mist-laden passage back to life and the
arms of her lover.
The largely Asian audience chattered
throughout, snapped photos, despite
repeated announcements in Eng-
lish prohibiting it, and had a rousing
good time. An Occidental theatergoer
might assume it was the first live theater
experience for many in attendance or
it could be just another cultural norm,
misunderstood by the uninitiated.
JINLING DANCE, from p.22
deception. She sees in Helen a potential
partner in the tobacco shop she hopes to
Albert starts this dream of finding
someone who can help her have a busi-
ness with insufficient information, Close
explained. Shes lived in hotels since she
was 14 and doesnt know anything. She
models herself as the perfect Victorian
gentleman and tries to present herself as
that, with her formal hat and umbrella.
She knows nothing of human contact
and intimacy. Albert is nave. Shes not
looking out with a furrowed brow, but
with an unknowingness.
Alberts navet is also evident in how
she develops in her relationship with
Page. Albert observes the closeness
Pages shares with her wife, Cathleen
(Bronagh Gallagher), with a curious eye,
wondering aloud if Page told Cathleen
she was a woman before or after their
wedding. Albert never seems to consider
the true nature of Page and Cathleens
lesbian relationship.
Shes worked for 30 years, and you
think she would know more, but she
doesnt want to know more, Close said.
It would jeopardize her secret. She tells
Hubert she moved around which is
taken directly from the original story
because she was afraid of being found
Along with Nobbs and Page, Joe is also
passing himself off as someone he is not.
The unemployed young man pretends to
be a boilers apprentice to get his job at
the hotel, which leads to the love triangle
and the ultimate fate of several charac-
I think Joe has an unbearable life,
Close said. He is someone who is illit-
erate and from an abusive background,
with a vicious father. He is used to being
beaten up, and abuse creates abuse.
What I love about Joe is that he real-
izes this. He doesnt want to become his
father or be in that vicious cycle. He sur-
vives in the only way he can. I respect
him for that.
She also noted that Hubert Page defied
the eras established gender roles.
Women had no rights then, so Hubert
becomes a hero to me, Close said.
The actress praised director Garca,
whose father is the Colombian novelist
Gabriel Garca Mrquez.
It was a very natural relationship,
she said. Rodrigo reminded me of Rob-
ert Altman he was so inclusive.
Still, Close acknowledged that her
roles as actress, screenwriter, and pro-
ducer made her sensitive to Garcas pre-
rogatives as director.
I would often throw out ideas, and
because we worked fast, one had to speak
up, she said. When I would speak up, I
would feel sick because I didnt want to
be construed as undermining Rodrigo.
We came to the point were we were totally
on the same page on the set.
Closes perseverance in front of and
behind the camera clearly paid off.
Resolve is a characteristic that the
actress shares with the unique character
she brings alive in Albert Nobbs.
GLENN CLOSE, from p.23
wool accessories.
Roses, Stripes, Skulls and Hearts.....
January 18, 2012 |
there some third, fourth, fifth option? In
politics, there are no agnostics, no Noahs
ripe for conversion when theyre faced
with an untamable ocean.
And when they and the rest of us
have nothing else to say we quote other
people. Its Martin Luther King Day. So
today people all across the land are rip-
ping chunks out of his speeches and
posting them. The bits are all interesting
and inspiring. The observations are often
still true, but its 2012. And Im wonder-
ing if MLK hadnt died and had instead
been engaged in the struggle all this
time, would he still be saying the same
things so many years later? If he were,
would we be listening?
Just for kicks, Ill take a second and
imagine him as this gray-haired guy in
a natty suit standing up there in front
of the Mall. What would he say? Dream
your own fucking dream, you idiots.
These things have a sell-by date before
they start to turn sour. Maybe hed
rant and rave. Maybe hed have fallen
silent in disgust or despair, speechless
as Pina Bausch. Maybe he would refuse
to appear, like a recalcitrant ground-
Most of us probably should go mum.
I cant remember the last time I said
something new. 2005? Or even the last
century? But maybe Ive got it all wrong
and all the blab is not an attempt to
communicate, push knowledge forward,
or share ideas. Maybe all our repeti-
tive chatter is a kind of ritual, a hopeful
yearning prayer in which sound itself is
supposed to save us.
Check out Kelly Sans Culotte at http://
inding that the Iowa
Supreme Court s
2009 marriage equal-
ity mandate extends
to all aspects of state
law, a Polk County district judge
in Des Moines has ruled that
the lesbian spouse of a birth
mother was entitled to be list-
ed as one of the parents on the
birth certificate, with no need to
adopt the child.
Judge Eliza J. Ovrom, on
January 4, ordered the Iowa
Department of Public Health
to issue a birth certificate nam-
ing Melissa Gartner as a parent
of Mackenzie Jean Gartner, a
child conceived through arti-
ficial insemination and born
to Heather Gartner, Melissas
The couple, who have been
in a relationship since 2003,
held a commitment ceremony
in 2006, according to Ovroms
opinion. When Heather had
a son in 2007, also conceived
through artificial insemination,
Melissa adopted him through a
second-parent proceeding.
The couple married in June
2009, shortly after the Iowa
Supreme Court s marriage
equality decision, and Heath-
er gave birth to the couples
daughter three months later.
The two mothers filed a birth
certificate listing themselves as
Mackenzies parents, but the
Department of Public Health
issued a certificate listing only
Heather, leaving blank the other
parent space on the form and
informing Melissa she would
have to adopt Mackenzie if she
wanted to be listed on the girls
birth certificate. Represented by
Lambda Legal, Melissa sued the
The states position contra-
dicts the well-established pre-
sumption that a child born to a
married woman is also the child
of her legal spouse. Melissa is
the stay-at-home parent while
Heather is out working to sup-
port the family, and lacking a
birth certificate listing her as
a mother is a disadvantage in
ways spelled out by Ovrom.
Though Melissa could adopt
Mackenzie with Heathers con-
sent, that would be a costly and
time-consuming procedure and
a judge would scrutinize Melis-
sas suitability as an adoptive
The state pointed to a stat-
ute directing the health depart-
ment to place the husbands
name on a childs birth cer-
tificate, unless paternity has
been established otherwise.
Any parent other than the birth
mothers husband cannot be
listed except through a judicial
adoption proceeding. The state
argued that the court should
defer to the departments inter-
pretation of that statute.
The Gartners argued that
given the 2009 marriage equali-
ty ruling, the health department
must apply a gender-neutral
construction to the birth cer-
tificate law. Agreeing with them,
Ovrom wrote that the marriage
decision states that language
in the Code of Iowa will have to
be interpreted and applied to
carry out the legality of same-
sex marriage. The high court,
the judge noted, specifically
mandated that, beyond strik-
ing down state law limiting civil
marriage to different-sex cou-
ples, the remaining statutory
language must be interpreted
and applied in a manner allow-
ing gay and lesbian people full
access to the institution of civil
Ovrom also pointed out that
the State Supreme Court cited
legitimacy of children born to
married parents as one of the
benefits that was withheld from
same-sex couples who could
not legally be married. This is
a strong indication that the
Supreme Court intended mar-
ried same-sex couples to have
legal recognition that their chil-
dren are legitimate and entitled
to the support of both parents.
The Departments refusal to
place Melissas name on the
birth certificate frustrates that
The judge rejected the states
argument that the customary
presumption that a child born
during the marriage is the legal
child of both parties to the mar-
riage is founded solely on the
belief that the birth mothers
husband is the childs genetic
father. She noted that the same
presumption has been applied
in Iowa when the mothers hus-
band was away at war and
could not possibly have fathered
the wifes child.
Ovrom noted as well that
Mackenzie was conceived by
artificial insemination using an
anonymous sperm donor, so
The Departments stated goal
of naming the biological father
of the child cannot be met.
Mindful that this would not be
true in every case of a lesbian
mothers wife, the judge wrote,
The courts holding is limited to
the facts of this case.
Those concluding comments
are unfortunate, since they
suggest that where there is a
known sperm donor the court
might have reached a different
conclusion, although all of its
analysis leading up to that point
in the opinion would support a
broader holding. Presumably,
where there is an agreement by
which a known donor contracts
to waive any parental rights,
this should not be a problem.
If the state seeks to appeal this
ruling, it would be helpful for a
binding appellate ruling to clari-
fy this issue.
This birth certificate issue
likely has its roots in the politics
surrounding same-sex marriage
in Iowa. A year after the high
court ruling, Terry Branstad, a
Republican hostile to same-sex
marriage, was elected governor,
a development that could have
persuaded the Department of
Public Health in dig in on the
position it took. With Repub-
licans in control of one house
of the Legislature and just two
votes down in the other, there is
a sense that the GOP is engaged
in a holding action regarding
the institutionalization of the
2009 ruling.
Ovroms decision is a coura-
geous position for an Iowa judge
to take in light of the electoral
blowback that, in 2010, unseat-
ed the three Supreme Court jus-
tices sitting on a unanimous
pro-marriage equality bench
who faced their retention refer-
enda that year.
Iowa Marriage Equality Applies to Birth Certicates
District judge nds birth mothers wife presumptive parent
Has Republican Terry Branstads election as governor stiffened the resolve of state officials to maintain a holding pattern on marriage equality in Iowa?
SPEECHLESS, from p.13
| January 18, 2012 29
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n administrative law judge
has ruled that a group affili-
ated with the United Meth-
odist Church violated the
New Jersey Law Against Dis-
crimination (LAD) by refusing to rent the
Boardwalk Pavilion on its property in
Ocean Grove for a civil union ceremony
by a lesbian couple.
Judge Solomon A. Metzgers Janu-
ary 12 ruling involved a claim the couple
made against the Ocean Grove Camp
Meeting Association, which owns and
operates a square mile of real estate on
the New Jersey shore in Neptune Town-
ship near Asbury Park.
In March 2007, Harriet Bernstein and
Luisa Paster applied to use the Board-
walk Pavilion, advertised as available
for wedding rentals for $250, for their
civil union ceremony. The only basis on
which an application for that purpose
had ever been denied was scheduling
conflicts with religious programming or
other community or charitable events.
Ocean Grove rejected the couples
application, according to Metzgers opin-
ion, saying that same-sex civil unions
conflicted with scriptural teaching
regarding homosexuality and that [it]
could not conduce such a ceremony at
the Pavilion.
Metzger first weighed whether the
Boardwalk Pavilion was a place of public
accommodation under the nondiscrimi-
nation law, a task simplified by Ocean
Groves decision in 1989 to apply for a
Green Acres real-estate tax exemption.
That benefit is granted for private prop-
erty open to the public for recreational
use without restriction. The Ocean Grove
application describes the area as public
in nature, the judge wrote.
Neptune Township had opposed the
application, arguing Ocean Groves reli-
gious restrictions made it doubtful pub-
lic access would in fact be available on
an equal basis without discrimination.
Ocean Grove countered it would abide
by an open policy without reservation.
Metzger pointed out that the Pavilions
website ad made no reference to any
religious requirements. Indeed, many of
the wedding ceremonies held there did
not comply with Methodist doctrine. The
judge ruled that when Bernstein and
Paster applied to rent the facility, it was
clearly a place of public accommodation.
The other issue Metzger had to resolve
was whether as a religiously affiliated
organization, Ocean Grove was entitled
to an exemption from the nondiscrimina-
tion requirement of state law. The orga-
nizations rental of the Pavilion for wed-
dings, he wrote, was an activity largely
detached from associational expression
or speech. Respondent did not inquire
into religious beliefs or practice because
it did not sponsor, or otherwise con-
trol, these weddings The arms length
nature of the transactions gave respon-
dent a comfortable distance from notions
incompatible with its own beliefs. That
same distance pertained to civil unions.
Metzger concluded, I do not believe
that the facts pose a true question of reli-
gious freedom, but were they to, the mat-
ter would not be governed by the high
bar of strict scrutiny, but by a much
lower standard that tolerates some intru-
sion into religious freedom to balance
other important societal goals.
Ocean Grove had renewed its Green
Acres exemption every three years until
this controversy came up, after which
renewal was denied. Pointing out that
it could have obtained a tax exemption
based on its religious affiliation one
not dependent on open access the
Association has since got-
ten out of the wedding rental
Noti ng that deci si on,
Metzger wrote, Respondent
can rearrange Pavilion opera-
tions, as it has done, to avoid
this clash with the LAD. It
was not, however, free to
promise equal access, to rent
wedding space to heterosexu-
al couples irrespective of their
tradition, and then except
these petitioners.
Bernstein and Paster did not seek
damages, only a declaration that their
right of access to public accommodations
had been violated, so Metzger concluded
that a finding of wrongdoing should be
an adequate redress. As an administra-
tive law judge, his decision is actually a
recommendation to the State Division
on Civil Rights director, who makes the
final ruling after considering any excep-
tions either party might file.
Methodist Group Loses on
Lesbian Civil Union Jersey
nixes religious exemption claim

I do not believe that the facts pose

a true question of religious
January 18, 2012 |
idewalks in Amster-
dam are for parked
bicycles and pedes-
T h e p a t t e r n
resembles a hodge-podge
and city planners in the US
might look down on it for that
reason but it is purposeful, a
product, in fact, of priorities and
careful decisions. And the city
or as much of it as I saw in
five days proves that urban
planning can work in ways dif-
ferently than we think about it.
Chaos is deftly avoided, and
cooperation is second nature.
I heard more complaints about
bicycles being stolen than I did
about any clutter their parking
created. The citys famous drug
policies are just one example of
how Dutch public policy works
to harmonize social life.
Pedestrians and bicycles
often have an equal share of the
sidewalk space, this in a con-
centrated city center with 17th
century roots and very narrow
thoroughfares. At the same
time, the palpable celebration of
history along the canals of cen-
tral Amsterdam does nothing to
impede the embrace of moder-
Historic preservation is at its
apogee in the central district;
high property values have not
bred skyscrapers. Buildings are
often centuries old but still via-
ble with the application of mod-
ern engineering and building
know-how. And with that, his-
toric land uses are preserved.
The ground floor is often used
for business, though it is no
longer the rule that its owners
family lives above the shop. This
arrangement allows the hawk-
ing of up-to-date fashion in his-
toric settings. The small lot sizes
are only suitable for small busi-
ness, a planning objective that
promotes a prosperous mer-
chant middle class.
Shop locally gains a whole
new meaning in Amsterdam. It
is the norm in the city center,
and consumer activism is tout-
ed. A discount store shapes its
identity around a fair deal for
all. Primark advertises ethi-
cal dealing with vendors com-
prised of sustainable business-
es. The disconnect between low
prices and ethics that has come
to plague American retail is not
visible at this store.
And you have to love a city
where the anchor tenant at a
downtown mall is a clothing
store called Sissy Boy, which
serves a heterogeneous custom-
er base and transforms a taunt
into a positive identity.
Our apartment sat in the
rear through a narrow alley off
Westerstraat, an old avenue in
Jordaan, a Greenwich Village-
type neighborhood. On the day
we left, there was an open-air
market with clothes, food, and
sundries that even a medieval
city dweller would recognize as
a marketplace. It filled the cen-
ter of the avenue while traffic
moved on either side. All that
seemed missing thankfully
was the once prevalent smell
of layers of horse dung.
I traveled with a friend to cele-
brate his 50th birthday (he urged
me to say 40th, so instead, Ill
just leave out his name) and our
first night, we went to the Melk-
weg to hear INXS play. This is an
iconic venue; a former dairy, it
opened in 1970, when, accord-
ing to its website carefully using
the past tense, Amsterdam was
like San Francisco. The place
was famous for its hash and
music, the Grateful Dead giving
a splendid concert there in 72.
This history shines a light
on the remarkable transforma-
tion in the Netherlands, show-
ing that sobriety and tolerance
for drug use may walk hand-in
Like New York City, bars in
Holland card young people
though, of course, there 18 is
the drinking age. There was
no smoking of anything at the
Melkweg and none of the
sneaky puffing that goes on
here. Marijuana use is on the
rise in the States, but its declin-
ing in the city famous for its tol-
After the show, we went to a
nearby coffeehouse they are
everywhere in central Amster-
dam and it was one of the
most delightful experiences of
my last 20 years: marijuana
use without apologies. With no
recourse required to medical
needs, the coffeehouse is sim-
ply a bar with smoking. Some-
one who smokes may continue
their conversation with friends
without having to drag them
outdoors. The coffeehouses fill
a void created by the ban on
indoor smoking in other estab-
A young man, on what looked
liked a first date, was carefully
and with great artistry roll-
ing a joint. His companion was
guarded; she watched without
participating. A couple behind
us speaking Italian were hug-
ging and kissing. Across the
way, four people socialized
even while divided by gender,
with the women sharing one
joint and the men another. The
easy conviviality of getting high
is preserved in a civilized set-
ting like this, and that is a vital
aspect of the experience.
The coffeehouse puts the
smoking outside the view of
the general public, but it allows
guests with a shared interest
to enjoy themselves, watch,
and learn. Freedom of associa-
tion out in the open whod a
thunk? The setting puts a pre-
mium on controlled use. Get-
ting drunk or out of control
brings frowns of disapproval in
most of the city, the honky-tonk
neighborhood excluded. (This
loud and raucous neighborhood
should not be confused with
the red light district for hetero-
sexuals who want a quickie
with a prostitute.) The attitudes
toward drinking, getting high,
and sobriety in New York City
and Amsterdam are remarkably
similar, but the way social life
is organized in the Netherlands
offers a safe space for cannabis
These are the sorts of delin-
eations of public space that are
at the heart of Amsterdams
social contract. Hollands abil-
ity to create relaxed and happy
atmospheres such as the one
we found in the coffeehouse
provided a stark contrast and
welcome relief from the moral-
izing and fearful stories that
constitute the unhappy core of
too many public health efforts
in the US.
People walk and ride bikes,
and city residents, the gray-
haired and the young alike,
cohabit with taxis and automo-
biles. Interestingly, almost no
one wears helmets while bik-
ing one less thing to carry
Amst er dam s pl anner s
seemed to have found the sweet
spot where design matches
actual behavior and the envi-
ronment allows everyone to
interact easily. Cooperation
actually works there.
On our return to New York,
the driver who picked us up
at the airport said he lived in
Amsterdam for seven years. I
had a good job, he explained.
Asked why he left, he said of
that decision, It was stupid.
Amsterdams Relaxed Social Contract Citys urban space,
public health planners know how to make cooperation work
The author has finished up his breakfast marijuana muffin, but is still working on the cognac.
work in the LGBT community,
has offices in Kalamazoo, New
York, and Cambridge, England.
Its founder, Jon Stryker, is a Kala-
mazoo alumni. Stryker lauded the
college for the emphasis it plac-
es on developing global citizens
who can be effective agents of
transformational change.
Founded in 1833 by a group of
Baptist ministers, Kalamazoo Col-
lege is now an independent liberal
arts school. The Arcus grant is the
largest in its 179-year history.
Fundraising for
Mayoral Primary
City Council Speaker Christine
Quinn, the out lesbian Chelsea
Democrat, has now raised more
than $4.9 million for an expected
2013 mayoral run, the maximum
she can use in her partys primary.
The New York Times reports
that with matching public funds,
the speaker will have 6.7 mil-
lion, which is as much as she is
allowed to spend under the citys
public campaign financing law.
Josh Isay, a Quinn campaign
consultant, told the Times the
early fundraising success gives
her a huge advantage, because
the campaign will be able to focus
on organizing and she can concen-
trate more on talking to voters and
less on raising money.
The newspaper reports that
other Democrats likely to run in
2013 including the 2009 Dem-
ocratic mayoral nominee William
C. Thompson, Comptroller John C.
Liu, Public Advocate Bill De Bla-
sio, and Manhattan Borough Pres-
ident Scott Stringer are well
behind Quinn in raising money.
Unaligned political consultants
the Times spoke to disagreed
about how decisive an advantage
early fundraising represents.
Home Depot
Rebuts Claim It
Retreated from
Home Depot, which has more
than 2,000 big-box stores across
North America, is pushing back
against claims by the American
Family Association that it has
begun to cave in to a two-year boy-
cott AFA has led in protest of the
chains participation in LGBT pride
events. On January 13, AFA posted
a release on its website crowing
that Home Depot had reduced its
presence in pride events from 16
in 2009 and 2010 to four last year,
that it had ordered employees
not to wear its trademark orange
aprons at such events, and now
prohibits its foundation from giving
money to support festivals.
AFA, warning that it could be
that the homosexual groups have
agreed with Home Depot to sim-
ply remain silent, continuing to
get money from Home Depot but
agreeing not to publicly acknowl-
edge Home Depots support,
urged its followers to keep up the
boycott., however,
reports that in response to a query,
Samantha F. DeVaney, an official
in Home Depots corporate office
in Atlanta, wrote, We have never
changed our commitment to diver-
sity and inclusion of all people, and
we have no intention of doing so.
Nor have we changed our apron
policy or the guidelines for our
Foundations charitable giving.
NEWS BRIEFS, from p.10
| January 18, 2012
Jonathan Lippman, the chief judge on
the court. Why wouldnt this, in this
case, tend to show calculation?... Why
doesnt the earlier act go right to that
The prosecution argued that Cass
put himself in the same situation twice
and that disproved his defense.
What was the explanation for why
he would put himself in this position
again? asked Victoria A. Graffeo, one
of the seven Court of Appeals judges. I
dont understand how the EED explains
why he would put himself in the same
situation a second time.
Yet another judge, Theodore T. Jones,
also hit on that theme. He asked, What
about the idea that lightning doesnt
strike twice?
The Brooklyn prosecutors theory
was that Cass was a serial killer who
targeted gay men and that the evidence
in both cases, taken together, proved
The peoples theory was that your
client was a calculating killer, said
Robert S. Smith, another judge. Here
they know that he did it. The question
is what was in his mind when he did it.
The judges in both cases sentenced
him to the maximum 25-years-to-life,
with those sentences running consecu-
tively, meaning Cass must serve 50
years before he is eligible for parole. His
earliest possible release date is in Feb-
ruary 2054.
rally around him to stop Romney.
Queer pundits and groups, including
gay Republicans, have universally con-
demned Santorums Iowa win. Santo-
rum, whose campaign did not respond
to an email seeking comment, was
not always the hard right-winger he is
Born in Virginia, Santorum, who is
53, was raised in western Pennsylvania.
He earned his undergraduate degree,
an MBA, and his law degree from uni-
versities in that state. For a time, San-
torum worked for a Republican state
senator who was pro-choice.
I really never took the time to con-
sider what my own positions were, he
told the Washington Post in a 2005 pro-
file. While published reports suggest
that he decided on a career in politics
early, the specifics of that career path
were unsettled.
The Post cited a political science pro-
fessor who said that Santorum once
asked him whether it would be better
for a politician in Pennsylvania to run
as a Democrat or Republican. The pro-
fessor said a Republican would face less
competition. In 1990, Santorum ran as
a Republican for a seat in the US House
of Representatives that Democrat Doug
Walgren had held since 1976. Santo-
rum won the election by running what
Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper,
called a generic anti-incumbent cam-
Santorum served two terms in the
House and first won his Senate seat in
1994. A review of legislation he spon-
sored in his early years shows he was
not a champion of socially conserva-
tive positions. He was best known as a
member of the Gang of Seven, a group
of House freshmen who used a scan-
dal over members being allowed to
overdraw their House bank accounts
without penalty to promote internal
reforms. That scandal contributed to
the Republican takeover of the House
in 1994.
In 1993, Santorum voted for Dont
Ask, Dont Tell, the policy that barred
gay men and lesbians from the mili-
tary. In the Senate in 1996, he voted for
the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA),
as did 84 of his Senate colleagues, and
against a parliamentary maneuver that
tried to substitute DOMA with legisla-
tion that barred discrimination based
on sexual orientation in employment.
DOMA, which bans federal recognition
of same-sex marriages and purports
to allow states to do the same, passed
and the parliamentary maneuver failed.
Santorum was a DOMA co-sponsor, but
a quiet one.
In 1996 and 1997, Santorum began
to emerge as a leading social conser-
vative. He was a vocal proponent of
anti-abortion legislation in the Senate.
In 1998, he opposed James Hormels
nomination to be ambassador to Lux-
embourg, a predominantly Roman
Catholic nation, because Hormel is
gay. He told the Hill, another Capitol
Hill newspaper, that the nomination is
a complete insult to Catholics. Its like
nominating someone who is anti-Jew-
ish for the ambassadorship to Israel.
Santorum is Catholic and has strong
ties to conservative factions within that
Also in 1998, James Dobson, then
the head of the right-wing Focus on
the Family, called out Republicans,
saying they had betrayed Christian
conservatives. He named Santorum as
one of those who had committed that
betrayal. So in his second Senate term,
when Santorum was the chairman of
the Republican Conference, the third-
ranking GOP post, he appears to have
worked hard to repair that relation-
Santorum was one of three Repub-
lican senators who led the fight for the
Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA),
an amendment to the US Constitution
that would ban gay marriage, legisla-
tion that was much sought by Christian
In the run up to the 2004 FMA vote,
Santorum called gay marriage the
death knell of our society that would
lead to the ultimate breakdown of the
traditional family and the meaning of
that to future generations of children.
On the Senate floor, he said, I would
argue, the future of our country hangs
in the balance because the future of the
American family hangs in the balance...
Isnt that the ultimate homeland secu-
rity, standing up and defending mar-
riage, defending the right for children
to have moms and dads, to be raised in
a nurturing and loving environment?
That is what this debate is all about.
And so in 2005, Santorum, the man
who had once asked if he should run
as a Democrat or a Republican, could
say of James Dobson in one published
report, I have a very close relationship
with Jim. I consider him a friend. Dob-
son was among the evangelical leaders
who urged voters to support the Penn-
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CASS, from p.11
SANTORUM, from p.9
plicated Context, by Michael Luongo,
January 4-17). Israels laudable record
on gay rights is no reason to overlook
its deplorable treatment of Palestinians.
However, one can support the Palestin-
ian struggle against Israel without ratio-
nalizing and excusing the murderous
homophobia in the Arab world.
The activists who coined the term
pinkwashing, insisting that Palestin-
ians should not be criticized for their
homophobia, have simply allowed their
hatred of Israel to supersede their stat-
ed desire to eradicate bigotry. To them,
trashing Israel even if some of the
disdain is if for good reason is more
important than fighting homophobia.
For me, a lifelong critic of Israel in
regard to this conflict, the rights of gay
Palestinians are just as important as the
rights of the heterosexual ones. There is
no excuse for homophobia.
We progressives rightly abhor the gay
conservatives in GOProud who ludi-
crously overlook the homophobia in their
own right-wing ranks because of blind
allegiance to political dogma. Yet there
are activists on the left who do the same
when the homophobia emanates from
the Islamic Middle East. What we have
in the pinkwashing debate is a left-wing
version of GOProud.
This is one progressive who is repelled
by the totalitarian elements of both
extremes. The best way to counter pink-
washing would be if the Palestinians had
a better record of support for gay rights
than Israel. Until that happens I will not
silently suffer the persecution of gay Pal-
estinians or any gay people on this earth.
Jim Kernochan
Via email
January 5, 2012
To the Editor:
To think that Ron Paul is anti-gay is
to not understand his philosophy (Ron
Pauls Anti-Gay Record Strong, Not Abso-
lute, by Duncan Osborne, Jan. 4-17).
Look around: States that legalize mari-
juana have the federal government come
in and arrest the people who smoke. This
should send chills up everyones spines.
How long will it be until a state that legal-
izes gay marriage is thrown to the wind
and the gay people getting married are
thrown in jail by the federal government?
Ron Paul has even said that it isnt
even a governmental issue (thus, not
even the states can make it illegal), but
that its a religious issue. Why is the gov-
LETTERS, from p.12
LETTERS, continued on p.35
January 18, 2012 |
Men in Jersey City
The Hudson Pride Connections Center launch-
es the M-POWER Mens Support Group for gay, bisex-
ual, and questioning men in Jersey City and through-
out Hudson County. The aim of the monthly meeting
is to provide a facilitated forum in a safe environment
for these men to discuss health, social, and personal
issues important to them. 32 Jones St. btwn. Newk-
irk St. & Sip Ave., Jersey City. Jan. 19, 6:30-6:30
p.m. For more information, visit
Homo Invasion
B-Movie filmmaker Lola Rock-N-Rolla (Dragz-
illa, Night of the Living Gay, Nefertitty), seminal
punk guitar player and songwriter Gina Volpe, and
Broadway dancer and choreographer Aliane Baquerot
(Celebrity Circus, Movin Out) have joined forces
to create an experience of pure camp pop culture,
chock full of ear splitting rock and high kick-ass danc-
ing. Homo the Musical! tells the story of the infiltra-
tion of a religious, Middle American suburb by an alien
from the Planet Homo posing as a suburban house-
wife. Michael Formika Jones, Brandon Olson, Erica
Penn, and David Artarvia are among the stars. The
Wild Project, 195 E.
Third St., btwn.
Aves. A & B.
Jan. 19-Feb.
4, Thu.-Sat.,
8 p.m. Tickets
are $15 at
t hewi l d-
p r o j e c t .
Push Comes to Shove
In BOB, Blessed Be The Dysfunction That Binds,
actress and writer Anne Pasquale invites you to meet
her special needs brother Bob and her family, and
share with them in the crisis, craziness, laughter, tears,
and triumph that highlight this coming of age journey.
This 90-minute solo show sheds light on the lives of
folks with disabilities and those who love them. Mary
Ann Hay directs. The 78th Street Theatre Lab, 236
W. 78th St. Jan. 19-Feb. 4, Thu.-Sat., 8 p.m. Tick-
ets are $18 at or 212-864-4444. For more
information on this show, visit
Yosemites Secrets
Playwrights Theater presents the world premiere
of Yosemite, a new play written by Daniel Talbott
(Slipping, a tale of gay seduction among two high
schoolers) that is
the story of three
siblings sent out
into the snow-
si l ent woods
i n t he Si er r a
Nevada foothills
t o di g a hol e
that will be deep
enough to bury
a family secret.
As they dig, they
search for a way
to escape or be
rescued from their lives as the snow continues to fall
and the world sinks in around them. The cast includes
Kathryn Erbe (Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Tony
nomination for The Speed of Darkness), Noah Galvin
(The Burnt Part Boys, Ace), Seth Numrich (War
Horse, Blind), and Libby Woodbridge (Jerusalem,
Gabriel). Pedro Pascal directs. Rattlestick Theater,
224 Waverly Pl., off Seventh Ave. S., btwn. Perry
& W. 11th Sts. Jan. 19-Feb. 26, Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.;
Sat., 2 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m. Tickets are $55 at ticketcen- or 212- 279-4200. Student and theater artist
discount information can be found on the Rattlestick
Playwrights Theater Facebook page.
Silver Screen Heyday
Patrick Askins Nick and Nicky is a modern day
gay comedy inspired by the classic Hollywood com-
edies of the 1930s. The play gets a staged reading
starring Askin, Brian Tweedy, Barbara Rosenblat,
Theis Weckesser, Devin Talbott, Derek Flics, Adrienne
Opalka, Julie Berndt, Alina Sokolova, and Jeremy
Lawrence. Richard Saellico directs. Leslie-Lohman
Gallery, 26 Wooster St., btwn. Canal & Grand
Sts. Jan. 19, 6-8 p.m. Wine reception follows the
Collaboration on
Limns 65th
The Limn Dance presents the first complete
showcase of its collaboration with composer Paquito
DRivera, the composers musical ensemble, and cho-
reographer Rodrigo Pederneiras. Manhattan Move-
ment & Arts Center, 248 W. 60th St. at Tenth Ave.
Jan. 19, 8 p.m. showing and artists Q&A; 9 p.m.
cocktail reception. Tickets begin at $65, in honor of
Limns 65th anniversary, at
Oh Boy, Playwrights
Beginning its ninth season, the Drunken! Careen-
ing! Writers! reading series presents several play-
wrights writer-performer Kevin R. Free, one of
NYTheatre.coms 15 people of the year for 2010; Puer-
to Rican-born, Bronx-raised Charles Rice-Gonzlez,
a writer, longtime community and LGBT activist, and
the executive director of BAAD! The Bronx Academy
of Arts and Dance; and Brett Warwick, a writer, actor,
and musician. Kathleen Warnock hosts. KGB Bar, 85
E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave. Jan.
19, 7 p.m. Free.
From 1600 and Back
Obie Award-winning and MacArthur Fellow writer,
director, and multi-media innovator John Jesurun
presents the world premiere of his Stopped Bridge of
Dreams, which unfolds inside an anonymous globe-
circulating jetliner, a modern-age pleasure palace
operated by a mother and son. The piece is inspired by
17th century Japanese writer Saikaku Iharas float-
ing world stories, and Jesuruns mother and son
hauntingly travel back and forth between the parallel
worlds of the 1600s and now. Black-Eyed Susan and
Preston Martin star. Among the other artists sched-
uled to appear during the Stopped Bridge run are
actor, writer, and director Buck Henry, performance
artist John Kelly, Butoh dancer and choreographer
Dawn Saito, and Obie and Bessie Award-winner Mary
Schultz. La MaMas Ellen Stewart Theatre, 66 E.
Fourth St., btwn. Bowery & Second Ave. Jan. 20-
Feb. 5, Wed.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m. Tickets
are $25; $20 for students & seniors at or
Broadway & Roosevelt
A closeted policeman from Long Island comes to
Jackson Heights for a date. At Club Atlantis, a drag
pageant contestant has a run-in with one of her fans,
while farther down Roosevelt Avenue, a Russian
immigrant discovers that redemption arrives in the
strangest ways. A Bangladeshi cab driver working the
midnight shift yearns for an Ecuadorian woman who
rises at dawn to bake bread, but does not speak her
language. Car dispatchers, sex workers, drag queens,
ER doctors, gamblers, and insomniacs collide in the
colorful world of Jackson Heights after hours. Seven
playwrights explore the worlds most culturally diverse
neighborhood from 10 p.m.-4 a.m. in Jackson Heights
3AM. PS 69, 77-02 37th Ave. Jan 20, 8 p.m.; Jan.
21, 2 & 8 p.m.; Jan. 22, 7 p.m. Tickets are $18 at or 800-838-3006. Queens Theatre,
14 United Nations Ave. S., Flushing Meadows
Corona Park. Jan. 27, Feb. 3, 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 28,
Feb. 4, 8 p.m.; Jan. 29, Feb. 5, 3 p.m. Tickets are $18
at or 718-760-0064.
Funny Money
Writer Michael Yates Crowley performs his show,
Righteous Money, about a foul-mouthed closeted
gay billionaire who goes a cropper live on televi-
sion. What starts as a promo for his new book, Buy
The Recession, takes a downward spiral as the host
comes out, loses his mind, and tries to justify his
wealth to an increasingly angry public. It is a hilari-
ous and bitter allegory about the collapse of the US
economy. Michael Rau directs. The Red Room, 85
E. Fourth St., btwn. Second & Third Aves. Jan.
20-21, 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 at or
212-352-3101; $15 at the door.
Kink & Leather
The Lesbian Sex Mafia presents kink educator
Mollena Williams, who was Ms. Leather 2010. LGBT
Community Center, 208 W. 13th St. Jan. 20, 8-10
p.m. Admission is $10; $5 for members. For more
information, contact
Hide/ Seek in Brooklyn
Hide/ Seek: Difference and Desire in American
Portraiture stirred controversy last fall when it pre-
miered at the National Portrait Galley in Washington.
After the first rumblings of right-wing criticism over a
brief segment in A Fire in My Belly in which the late
David Wojnarowicz showed ants crawling on a cruci-
fix, the museum, part of the Smithsonian Institution,
removed it. A groundbreaking exhibit in presenting gay
and lesbian portraiture in historical art and culture, the
show includes works by Georgia OKeeffe, Andrew
Wyeth, Thomas Eakins, Romaine Brooks, Marsden
Hartley, Charles Demuth, Andy Warhol, Keith Har-
ing, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Catherine
Opie, and Robert Mapplethorpe. The show, A Fire
in My Belly restored, is at the Brooklyn Museum,
200 Eastern Parkway at Washington Ave., near
Grand Army Plaza. Wed., Fri-Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.;
Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., through Feb. 12. Admission is
$12; $8 for students & seniors.
De Mare Salutes
Contemporary pianist Anthony de Mare presents
Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim from the Piano, an
intrepid program featuring 36 short solo pieces based
on the music of the legendary theater composer and
lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Leading contemporary com-
posers of varying genres and generations including
Mason Bates, Eve Beglarian, Kenji Bunch, Ricky Ian
Gordon, Jake Heggie, Fred Hersch, Ethan Iverson,
Tania Leon, Paul Moravec, David Rakowski, Frederic
Rzewski, and Bernadette Speech pay homage to
Sondheim. Hudson Opera House, 327 Warren St.,
near N. Third St., Hudson, NY. Jan. 21, 8 p.m. $18
at Symphony Space, 2537
Broadway at 95th St. Apr. 21, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are
$45; $15 under 30 at
Jason AC/ DC
Character actor Jason Stuart has made a career of
being out and supporting the LGBT community. Last
season, he played it straight opposite Kyra Sedgwick
on TNTs The Closer, but he returned to playing gay
in the successful sequel Bearcity 2, starring Kathy
Najimy, Stephen Guarino, and Gerald McCullouch.
Tonight, Stuart brings his comedy to Stand Up New
York, 236 W. 68th St. Jan. 21, 8 p.m. Also appear-
ing are Dante Nero, Owen Smith, Ted Alexandro, and
Mike Vecchione. Admission is $20, with a two-drink
Creating A Queer Museum
The New York State Board of Regents has char-
tered the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and
Lesbian Art as the worlds first museum dedicated to
exhibiting and preserving LGBTQ art and artists. A new
exhibition celebrating Leslie-Lohmans expanded mis-
sion includes work from Wilhelm Von Gloeden, Robert
Mapplethorpe, JEB (Joan E. Biren), Keith Haring, Peter
Hujar, Andy Warhol, Catherine Opie, Minor White,
and Tee A. Corrine. The exhibition also includes new
| January 18, 2012
donations of work by Sherwin Carlquist, an American
botanist and photographer whose passion is the pho-
tography of male nudes in natural landscapes; Amos
Badertscher, a self-taught Baltimore photographer,
who is a poetic chronicler of that citys fast disappear-
ing trade/ sex worker subculture; and Marion Pinto, a
native New Yorker who had the first one-woman show
ever mounted at the Leslie-Lohman Gallery in 1975
entitled Man As A Sex Object. Leslie-Lohman
Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster St.,
btwn. Grand & Canal Sts. Through Jan. 28, Tue.-
Sat., noon-6 p.m.
Clash of the Titans
Brad Loekle is joined by Adam Sank, his
predecessor as host of The Electroshock Therapy
Comedy Hour, in what promises to be a frienemy
sharp-tongued duel (hopefully, the boys will keep
their knives at home). Refereeing really? will
be fellow comics Naomi Ekperigin and Chris Doucette.
Therapy Bar, 348 W. 52nd St. Jan. 22, 10 p.m. There
is no cover charge, and cosmos are $7 all night long.
Meredith Monk in
Composer, singer, director, and choreographer
Meredith Monk performs selections from her four-de-
cade repertoire and discusses her singular career in an
up-close-and-personal setting. The conversation will
be moderated by John Killacky, executive director of
the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington,
Vermont, and the former curator of performing arts for
Minneapolis Walker Art Center. La MaMas Ellen
Stewart Theatre, 66 E. Fourth St., btwn. Bowery
& Second Ave. Tickets are $50; $45 for students &
seniors at or 212-475-7710.
Sly Funk
David Dorfman Dance presents Prophets of Funk,
a celebration of the groundbreaking, visceral, and polit-
ically innovative music of Sly and the Family Stone,
one of the first major bands integrated along race and
gender lines. The piece for eight dancers explores the
prophetic possibilities of music and dance and invites
everyday people to find strength and joy in the muck
and mess the funk of everyday life. The Joyce
Theater, 175 Eighth Ave. at 19th St. Jan. 24-25,
7:30 p.m.; Jan. 26 & 28, 8 p.m.; Jan. 29, 2 p.m. Tick-
ets are $10-$39 at or 212-242-0800.
No Lady Here. Ninguna!
The raunchy, demented drag diva of Wigstock
fame, Lady Bunny presents her first full-length one
wo-man show in almost a decade. Fast-paced and
action-packed with glitzy costumes and Bunnys trade-
mark gravity-defying bouffant wig, That Aint No
Lady is a cabaret designed for a nightclub crowd
no lengthy monologues or sappy show tunes here. Gay
City News David Noh writes, There surely have been
drag queens more beautiful and more vocally expres-
sive, but none has ever made me laugh as hard and
consistently over the years as Lady Bunny. For mature
audiences who enjoy irreverent humor! La Nueva
Escuelita, 301 W. 39th St. Every
Tue., 8 p.m. Admission is oddly
$14.98 at
The show is followed by an hour of
two-for-one drinks.
Gay Dads, Two
The Center Families program
of the LGBT Community Center
presents a workshop for gay men
planning biological parenthood. The
evening explores the legal, medi-
cal, financial, social, and moral aspects of surrogacy
and egg donation faced by gay men. The group is also
an opportunity to get together with other gay men con-
sidering fatherhood, share information, provide mutual
support, and to build a network of gay dads. 208 W.
13th St. Jan. 25, 6:30 p.m.- 8 p.m. Suggested house-
hold donation is $5. For more information, contact cen- or call 646-556-9297.
Seeing Is Believing
Will Clarks P*rno Bingo, which has raised funds
for LGBT community groups for years, tonight presents
an evening of entertain-
ment, cheap drinks, and
cheap men to benefit
Visual AIDS, which uti-
lizes art to fight AIDS
by provoking dialogue,
supporting HIV-positive
artists, and preserving
a legacy. Cabaret singer
Gregory Nalbone head-
lines a show that also
welcomes Imperial Court
of New York Emperor
Vanity Society and
Empress Pepperica
Swirl as well as Vis-
countess Dori s Dear.
Pieces, 8 Christopher
St. near Sixth Ave. Jan.
25, 8-10 p.m.
Lesbian Moms, Two
The Center Families program of the LGBT Com-
munity Center presents a workshop for lesbians con-
sidering, preparing for, or currently in the process of
conceiving through alternative insemination. The eve-
ning is also an opportunity to get together with other
lesbians considering motherhood, share information,
provide mutual support, and to build a network of
lesbian moms. 208 W. 13th St. Jan. 25, 6:30 p.m.- 8
p.m. Suggested household donation is $5. For more
information, contact or
call 646-556-9297.
Groove To Nobodys
Camille A. Brown & Dancers, noted for mixing mod-
ern dance techniques with West African dance and
hip-hop elements, presents The Groove To Nobodys
Business and Been There, Done That. The Joyce
Theater, 175 Eighth Ave. at 19th St. Jan. 27, 8 p.m.;
Jan. 28, 2 p.m.; Jan. 29, 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10-$39
at or 212-242-0800.
Chill Pride in Queens
In its annual winter dinner dance, the Queens Les-
bian & Gay Pride Committee honors City Comptroller
John C. Liu, Drew Tagliabue and the Safe Schools Pro-
gram at PFLAG, and John Kryminski, the coordinating
manager of social work services at Elmhurst Hospital
Center. The evening includes a cocktail hour with hors
doeuvres, dinner, dancing, an open bar, and dessert.
Astoria World Manor, 25-22 Astoria Blvd. Jan.
28, 7 p.m.-midnight. Tickets at $90 at queenspride.
Judy & Liza, Now &
Tommy Femia, a seven-time winner of a Manhat-
tan Association of Cabaret
and Clubs (MAC) Award, and
Ricky Skye, who won a Bis-
tro Award for The Flip Side
of Neil Sedaka, perform the
most famous mother-daugh-
ter act in history in Judy and
Liza Together Again. The
pair sing solos, duets, and
just plain holler and whoop
though, in this case, not
through the Loop. Ricky Rit-
zel appears as Mort Lindsey/
Pappy as he music directs.
Dont Tell Mama, 343 W.
46th St. Jan. 28, Feb. 18 &
25, 8:30 p.m. There is a $25
cover charge and a two-drink
minimum. For reservations,
call 212-757-0788.
Women Mixing It Up On
Park Slope healing ritual artist Judith Z. Miller
has organized the New York City Queer Cougars &
Cubs Together, the first and only meet-up group for
older and younger lesbians who find each other hot.
NYCQCCT offers a chance for members to enjoy each
others company in a fun, relaxed, and accepting atmo-
sphere rather than burn up hours on the Internet with
fruitless hunts. Madam X Bar, 94 W. Houston St.,
btwn. Thompson & LaGuardia Sts. Jan. 29, 7-9
p.m. For more information, visit
Loud & Lewd!
Brad Loekles weekly Electroshock Therapy Com-
edy Hour is going to get right in your face this evening
with edgy, no holds barred hilarity. Yamaneika (TruTV,
BET) headlines a show that also features Hadiyah
Robinson (BETs The MoNique Show) and Frank
Liotti (Rockbars comedy show). Therapy Bar, 348
W. 52nd St. Jan. 29, 10 p.m. There is no cover charge,
and cosmos are $7 all night long.
Solo Innovators
The Transit Spotlight Series, a platform for innova-
tive musicians to present solo performances of new
and experimental music from the cutting edge, pres-
ents Phyllis Chen on toy piano, cellist Evelyn Farny, and
multimedia artist Rob Dietz. Kent Fine Art Gallery,
210 Eleventh Ave. at 25th St., second fl. Feb. 2, 7
p.m. Free.
HRC New York Gala
The Human Rights Campaign, the LGBT commu-
nitys Washington lobbying group that played a critical
role in New York States marriage equality victory last
June, hosts its annual Manhattan gala, with a cock-
tail hour, silent auction, dinner, and afterparty. The
group will honor Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour
and the Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs. Ryan Mur-
phy, the creator of Glee, will present Wintour with
her award. Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, 301 Park Ave.
at 49th St. Feb. 4, 5:30-10 p.m. Tickets begin at $450
at An afterparty at the Waldorf Startlight Roof
follows at 10 p.m.
January 18, 2012 | 34
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| January 18, 2012
dvocates for home-
l ess LGBT youth
reacted with a mix-
ture of dismay and
anger to Governor
Andrew Cuomos January 17
budget address in which he
proposed no increase in fund-
ing for runaway and homeless
youth (RHY).
The Pride Agenda is con-
cerned that the governors office
has failed to adequately address
the crisis of LGBT runaway and
homeless youth, Ross Levi,
executive director of the Empire
State Pride Agenda (ESPA), the
states LGBT lobby, said in a
written statement. The need for
support for runaway and home-
less youth has only grown as the
options for safe and supportive
housing have diminished.
George Hermann, a member
of the Koleinu/ Social Justice
Group at Congregation Beit
Simchat Torah (CBST), noting
that he and other advocates
discussed the needs of home-
less queer youth with senior
Cuomo administration officials
for 45 minutes on January 13,
said, All I can conclude is that
the governor does not care. He
cannot say he was unaware.
In last years budget, state
funding for homeless youth
programs in New York City
declined from $1.4 million to
about $745,000. The Campaign
for Youth Shelter, a coalition
of advocacy groups including
ESPA and CBST, is calling on
the state and the city combined
to increase RHY funding each
year by $3 million until the
unmet demand for youth beds
in the city is satisfied.
Wi t h each bed cost i ng
between $35,000 and $42,000
a year to maintain, accord-
ing to the citys Department of
Youth and Community Devel-
opment (DYCD), that spend-
ing could increase inventory
by as many as 87 beds a year.
Currently, there are only about
250 government-funded youth
beds in the city, with the most
recent estimate of the num-
ber of homeless young people,
24 and younger, on the streets
every night conducted by the
Empire State Coalition in 2007
standing at 3,800. As many
as 40 percent of that population
identifies as LGBT or question-
Advocates had hoped the
state would commit half of the
$3 million, leaving the remain-
der up to the city budget.
Instead, Cuomo proposed the
$745,000 spent over the past
year. The shortfall in funding
that last years cut created was
made up by the City Council.
That make-whole, however, did
nothing to add to the inventory
in the way advocates are seek-
Carl Siciliano, who runs the
Ali Forney Center, which pro-
vides housing and services to
homeless queer youth, said,
Governor Cuomos budget pro-
posal is bad news for the 1,600
homeless LGBT youth stranded
on the streets of New York each
night without access to a shel-
ter bed. These youth, who suf-
fer horribly and whose lives are
in danger, deserve the attention
and concern of their governor
no less than the other members
of our community.
Siciliano made note of esti-
mates that gay marriages could
generate as much $100 million
in economic activity and tax
revenues annually, and said
the LGBT community has a
moral obligation to demand that
our tax dollars protect the most
vulnerable and desperate mem-
About two-dozen activists
affiliated with Queer Rising
demonstrated outside Cuomos
Midtown office hours after the
budget speech. The protesters
held cardboard boxes, inscribed
with the first names, ages, and
hobbies of anonymous home-
less youth printed over the
statements, I am homeless
and I am a real person.
Four demonst rat ors
Natasha Dillon, Jake Good-
man, Melissa Kleckner, and Ted
McGuire were arrested after
blocking the revolving door exit
from the building for about five
minutes. At press time, they
were expected to be released
with desk appearance tickets
requiring them to appear before
a judge at a later date.
During the weekend of Janu-
ary 20-22, CBST is launch-
ing a new interfaith campaign
called Shelter of Peace. More
than 100 members of the clergy
have committed to speaking out
on the obligation society has to
protect youth, especially those
who are homeless, regardless
of sexual orientation or gender
identity. That campaign will run
through the Passover and Eas-
ter holidays. For more informa-
tion, visit
In its release, the Pride Agen-
da, which called the budget
message a mixed bag, lauded
the governor for maintaining
funding for a network of 46
social service agencies serving
LGBT communities statewide
at $5.26 million. Levi also said
the group looked forward to
continue working with the gov-
ernors staff and the Legislature
on addressing homeless youth
needs, a nod to the fact that the
governors budget proposal is
the first word, not the last.
The governors office had not
responded to a request for com-
ment at press time.
Homeless Youth Advocates Unhappy with Cuomo
Budget Governor offers no dollars to increase inventory of beds
Ted McGuire, Natasha Dillon, Jake Goodman, and Melissa Kleckner block the exit from the Mid-
town building that houses Governor Andrew Cuomos Manhattan office on January 17.
ernment even involved in the first place?
Do I really need John Kasich, Obama,
Bush, or Schwarzenegger to tell me Im
allowed to marry the person I love? No.
Get the government out of it. Vote for
Ron Paul
Evan Rogers
Via email

January 5, 2012
To the Editor:
You need to look at his pattern of vot-
ing before you say he doesnt like gays.
Dr. Paul consistently votes against any
federal law enforced upon the states.
Basically the government needs to stay
out of our personal business. He wants
the government out of marriage. If peo-
ple would stop twisting things around
on him, most would see that. If you want
anti-gay, look to the other candidates.
Ron Paul is one of the few who views all
equally under the law.
Danny Haley
Via email

January 4, 2012
To the Editor:
With all due respect, I think you are
wrong about Ron Paul. He is for the indi-
viduals rights. If you understand the
philosophies of individualism versus col-
lectivism, which Ron Paul sees as the real
cause of discrimination, then you can
begin to appreciate that he is the least
racist, bigoted candidate. He wants the
individual to rise by assuring his or her
liberties for as long as there is no violation
of others.
If you understand the philosophies
that he is advocating then you will begin
to understand the man. He may not be
comfortable with the lifestyle, but he will
staunchly protect your right to live it.
There is a big difference.
I belong to the LGBT community and I
agree with Ron Paul that when we begin to
see people as belonging to groups (collec-
tivism), it opens doors to further discrimi-
nation and marginalizing. We all have our
opinions about what others do that make
us uncomfortable, but that does not make
us racists or prejudiced just human.
Delilah Marconi
Via email
January 5, 2012
To the Editor:
Nonsense. Put down the agenda and
see Ron Pauls opposition to bills for
what they are. He opposed an award for
Mother Teresa, and hes a Christian for
Christs sake! Do you know what a liber-
tarian is?
Sam Geoghegan
Via email
Write Us!
Please address letters to the editor
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LETTERS, from p.31
January 18, 2012 | 36

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