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Arts

Best Gay Books of 2002

The good news is that the number and quality of queer books published each year by increasingly mainstream publishers seems to continue to grow. The bad news is that independent gay bookstores continue to struggle. All won’t be lost if the community’s historic bookstores close down, but a large piece of the queer social fabric will be forever irreplaceable. So while picking up some of the year’s best books, why not buy them at Creative Visions or Oscar Wilde instead of at a chain store. The following favorites didn’t necessarily garner the most press this year, but they are quite wonderful nonetheless. Comments (2)
Arts

Curtain Call

BURN THIS It would be nice if there were more to think about during Lanford Wilson’s much heralded revival of Burn This than Ty Burrell. But when a play is so ploddingly plotted, the mind is going to wander. And it might as well wander to the eye candy. Not that Burrell is only eye candy and can’t act. He can. Comment
News

Divide on Gender Continues

Just as they split over whether to include transgender rights in the state Sexual Orientation Non Discrimination Act, activists are divided over how to add protections for the transgender community to state law now that SONDA has been enacted. SONDA, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public accommodations, passed the state Senate on December 17 by a vote of 34 to 26. It cleared the state Assembly earlier this year and Governor George Pataki signed it into law the evening the Senate approved the bill. Comment
News

In Washington, Racism Trumped Homophobia

Lott’s antigay rants Why is it that in all of the righteous indignation about Trent Lott’s racist statements there wasn’t any discussion of this ugly old fool’s homophobic statements? He hates gays with a passion and personifies what so much of the right wing of the Republican Party believes about gays as well as blacks. Comment
News

Gender Change Insurance Nixed

Finding that gender-reassignment surgery is merely “cosmetic” and not “medically necessary,” a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, upheld on December 20 the refusal of an employee benefits plan to cover the costs of such procedures. Born female in 1955, Margo Mario began working for P & C Food Markets in 1992 as a supervising pharmacist. Beginning in the mid-1990s, Mario, who had been diagnosed as having gender dysphoria, decided to begin the process of transforming from female to male. Mario advised P & C of this decision, and was given permission to begin dressing as a Comment
Arts

Hustler Reek

HUSTLER WHITE James Franco is "Sonny". Nicolas Cage is currently making headlines for a) divorcing Lisa Marie Presley and b) his excellent work in Adaptation, Spike Jonze’s follow-up to Being John Malkovich. It must be his year, because he’s ending it by making his directorial debut with Sonny, without question one of the darkest, most depressing films of the year. It is also completely riveting. This story of a New Orleans male prostitute is at times a bit too violent and emotionally lugubrious for its own good. Nonetheless, it is truly hard to resist the intense, sex-filled plot and the superb performances of the cast. Comment
News

Is Frist Good for Gays?

The new U.S Senate majority leader at Log Cabin Republican. Activists had mixed, but generally positive reactions to the news that Senator Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, would replace Senator Trent Lott as majority leader in the U.S. Senate. But, given his voting record on gay and AIDS issues, whether Frist’s ascendancy represents just a change in tone or a substantive shift in Republican policies regarding these issues remains to be seen. “Log Cabin Republicans is thrilled that he is going to be the new majority leader,” said Mark Mead, director of public affairs at the gay Republican group. “We’ve had a working relationship with him for a while, particu Comment
Arts

Keepin’ It Real

“In gay culture, there is a lack of role models,” says Danny Roberts, host of Boys Briefs 2, a video/DVD of short films about gay teenage lust. Best known for his stint on the New Orleans edition of MTV’s The Real World, Roberts, however, has worked hard to fill this void. Contacted by Picture This! Entertainment about hosting Boys Briefs 2, Roberts accepted the opportunity it provided him, what he calls “a test run for future projects.” The episodic introductions, which were filmed at Laguna Beach, California, feature the occasionally shirtless Roberts sunning it up on the beach, despite having the flu on the day of fil Comment
News

Lame Duck Reneges on SONDA

Gay advocates are reacting with anger to Brooklyn State Senator Vincent Gentile’s vote last week against the state gay rights bill, a move that contradicted his long-standing pledge to support the measure. Unlike other New Yorkers unhappy with their representative’s vote on the Sexual Orientation Non Discrimination Act (SONDA), however, those disgruntled with Gentile will not have to wait until 2004 to exact their revenge. Instead they will have a chance do so as early as February 11, the likely date for a special election to fill the Bay Ridge-Bensonhurst City Council seat being vacated by Martin Golden, who is giving up his seat after defeating Gent Comment
Arts

La Vida Loca

Early Hollywood star shined brightly and gay By Jay Blotcher When André Soares, the author of Beyond Paradise: The Life of Ramon Novarro, the masterful new biography on the silent film idol, calls […] Comment
From the Editor

On To 2003

As Gay City News approaches the first year-end since we began publication, we look back on a period marked by both new challenges and fresh opportunities. The nation is experiencing one of its periodic […] Comment
Arts

Man’s Man

MACHO MAN Fernando Maneca dances at HERE. Videotaped interviews of people answering the question, “What is a real man?” separate the live sections of Fernando Maneca’s Just Like a Man, seen at HERE Arts Center (December 12-22). Men, women, and a little boy who gets tangled in his own thoughts, don’t really answer the question but express their personal opinions about men. In between, Maneca dances and tells, as the subtitle of this extended solo states, “personal anecdotes, confessions, and other tall tales.” Guest choreographers choreographed some of the vignettes. Not only does Maneca dance he also wrote some of the Comment
News

Minnesota Gender Law Narrowed

Following on a state supreme court decision in late 2001 that narrowed the application of a Minnesota statute protecting transgendered employees of private sector companies from discrimination, the […] Comment
Arts

Premieres and Prioresses

CRYING NUNS John Dexter''s Dialogues des Carmelites. Of uncommon interest at the Met was the house debut in Lucia di Lammermoor of Annick Massis, December 6. Previously heard hereabouts in some Met in the Park Lucia performances and as an admirable Giulietta to Vesselina Kasarova’s wayward Romeo for Eve Queler, the accomplished French soprano proved a charming and thoughtful interpreter. The voice is a shade light and tended to get lost in the duet with Enrico (Anthony Michaels-Moore, whose snarly edge worked better here than in previous Met assignments) and in the Sextet (when she had to compete with, among other things, the truly ghastly sounds emitted Comment
News

Progress Up North

The Supreme Court of Canada has issued two important pro-gay decisions, one upholding the use of children’s books depicting lesbian and gay families in public school kindergarten classes, and […] Comment
News

Rights and Responsibilities

In a unanimous decision establishing that the responsibility to pay child support goes along with the right to custody and visitation, a Pennsylvania appellate court ruled that a lesbian co-parent must make regular child support payments to her former partner, who now lives in California. The ruling from a three-judge panel of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, which refers to the women only by their initials in order to protect their children’s confidentiality, was issued on December 17. Disputes between former partners, L.S.K. and H.A.N., have been in the news before, like when the court awarded H.A.N. the right to partial custody and extended visitation with the five children Comment
Arts

Two Dimensional Gays

LOVERS ROCK Midnighter and Apollo''s wedding. Gay bashings, outings, and domestic partnerships are not usually mentioned alongside colorful costumes, muscled superheroes, and powers beyond those of mortal men. But these controversial subjects are being tackled more than ever inside the pages of superhero comics. Storylines revolving around gay issues are gaining widespread attention inside and out of the comic book community. “I always wanted to be Wonder Woman’s little brother,” said Phil Jimenez. “Growing up, I wanted to be the only little boy on the island [of Themyescria, Wonder Woman’s all-female home]. A breastless Amazon.” Jimenez recently came as c Comment
Arts

Unforgettable

GRAND DAME Trisha Brown''s sentimental, post-modern dance. Whether intentional or not, many of the dances presented over the last twelve months have evoked the events of September 11. Perhaps this has less to do with the specifics of the event itself, and more to do with the universality of death and the stages in which we deal with it and its aftermath. Perhaps for those of us who witnessed, survived, and remember… the significance of those themes has become charged. A reference to 9/11 is still so immediate that it produces an instant connection with the audience. The eleven dances cited below did not necessarily use September 11 as source material or “inspirati Comment
Arts

Woman in Control

“What makes this book unique is that there has never been a novel written about a woman who is erotically attracted to the idea of gay male love,” says Juliet Sarkessian, author of Trio Sonata. “But the fantasy of straight men [being turned on by] lesbians is fodder for every sitcom.” Sarkessian hopes her beautifully written book will help reduce this homophobic double standard. The book, published this month by the Southern Tier editions imprint of Haworth Press, tells the story of the erotic awakening of Janna, a young, straight woman, whose life transforms when she meets Alex and Phillip, a gay couple. For Sarkessian, a lesbian, these characters—partic Comment
Arts

Women Make Movies

CLARRISSA Meryl Streep is a modern Mrs. Dalloway in The Hours. Try, if you can, to forget all that’s been said about The Hours. Let the accolades for Meryl and Julianne, Nicole, Miranda, and Ed roll away. Block out the buzz about Golden Globe nominations, Kidman’s prosthetic nose… Forget about it, if you can, and walk into the theater with an open mind. The Hours is a film that unravels its secrets slowly, rewards it’s viewers with subtlety. The film is much more than you’ve heard, because it is so much less. It is quiet, still, and ennobling. The Hours is also sweet, very sad, and surprisingly complicated. The Comment
News

2002: A Year of Challenges, Hopes, and Victories

New Years Day, 2002 brought news of the barbaric resistance that gay sex still faces in the world: an Associated Press story dated January 1 reported that three Saudi Arabian men had been beheaded after being convicted on charges that they “committed acts of sodomy, married each other, seduced young men, and attacked those who rebuked them.” For gay and human rights advocates around the world, the news was another example of the sometimes tragic clash between religious fundamentalism and sexual liberation, a struggle ongoing worldwide, even if it takes on sharply different forms. The irony that this human rights abuse took place under the auspices of a key U.S. ally in the war against Islamic-based terrorism did not escape notice. The Saudi cru Comment
Arts

Solo Effort

ENDURANCE Adrian Brody stars in The Pianist. There’s a pivotal moment in The Pianist when its protagonist, celebrated composer, pianist, and Holocaust survivor Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody), is called upon to give a singularly crucial, command performance. Discovered hiding in the parlor of an abandoned house by a Nazi soldier, the starving, feeble Szpilman is ordered to play a nearby piano. Summoning his final reserves of strength and courage, he pours every last bit of torment, desperation, and fear he’s been carrying for five agonizing years into a stirring rendition of Chopin’s Ballad ‘No. 1 in G Minor, Opus 23.’ Nerv Comment
News

2002: A Year of Challenges, Hopes, and Victories

SEXUAL FREEDOM | New Years Day, 2002 brought news of the barbaric resistance that gay sex still faces in the world: an Associated Press story dated January 1 reported that three Saudi Arabian men had […] Comment
Arts

American Original

Trisha Brown is one of the most influential choreographers of our time. A principal revolutionary associated with the legendary Judson Dance Theater—a group of artists who challenged the restrictions of institutionalized art and its set of standardized rules. She paved the way for a new generation of dance and performance. Ms. Brown has been honored by foreign governments for her groundbreaking artistry and ongoing contributions to the lexicon of dance; many of her works are considered masterpieces. Her living legacy was clearly on display at John Jay College, December 2–14, especially during an evening of repertory works from Brown’s oeuvre. Set and Reset, which premiered in 1983, is a se Comment
News

A Moment in History

The Minority Conference Room in the New York State Senate, where the 24 senators in the Democratic Caucus meet, is fittingly ornate, evocative of the gravitas I’ve always expected in a place of important political decision-making. Oxblood leather armchairs, massive chandeliers, and soaring burgundy drapes adorn this sanctum. It was here where a handful of other gay activists and I witnessed the historic debate, taking place in the equally ornate Senate chamber a corridor-length away, on the state’s Sexual Orientation Non Discrimination Act. In Albany to help the Empire State Pride Agenda in its final lobbying push, we were barred from the overflowing Senate gallery and raced downstai Comment
Arts

Bad to the Last Drop

Blood curdling awful; biting funny Comment
Arts

Blow Job

John Rechy biographer sucks up to his subject Comment
News

Bush Issues Faith-Based Fiat

In an end run around the U.S. Congress, which had stalled his effort for more than a year, President George W. Bush issued an executive order on December 12 streamlining the federal government’s […] Comment
News

Court Refuses Moot Role

A unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit on December 9 dismissed a challenge to two Kentucky laws forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, finding that a dentist who had no expectation of hiring new employees at the time he filed his lawsuit did not have “standing” to bring his claim that the laws violated his right to free exercise of religion. In 1999, both the city of Louisville and surrounding Jefferson County, passed local laws amending their civil rights codes to add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the list of forbidden grounds for discrimination in employment, housing, and Comment
Arts

Dead or Alive

Posthumous fame for East Village underground icon Comment
Arts

Fathers and Sons

The Man I Might Become is a profound anthology of autobiographical essays by 28 gay writers regarding their relationships with their fathers. Covering a wide spectrum of regional, ethnic, and socio-economic family structures, the stories presented are humorous, frequently tragic, and thoroughly provocative in dissecting the clash of ideals and priorities that ripple within families. Edited by Bruce Shenitz, an editor at Out magazine, the stories presented in The Man I Might Become are primarily centered during the 1950s through the early 1970s. For the writers, being able to come out openly during this time put them on the forefront of the gay liberation movement, providing a se Comment
Arts

Foolish Sun

Eric Piepenburg HARD KNOCK LIFE Fool the Sun Sinks I once reviewed a show called Tiff and Mom: I Know Who You Did Last Summer, a late-night Halloween sketch comedy/musical review at a tiny Chicago theater. […] Comment
Arts

Friendly Fellers in Florida

Carl Hiaasen territory hijacked in gay detective tale Comment
News

Gray Davis Hangs Tough

In an important ruling in a case that has become a cause célèbre in California’s gay community, the state Supreme Court announced December 16 that it was upholding Governor Gray Davis’ refusal to allow Robert Rosenkrantz out on parole. Rosenkrantz was 18 and just out of high school in June 1985 when he killed 17-year-old Steven Redman, a friend of his younger brother Joey, a crime for which he was convicted of second-degree murder. The court’s ruling is significant in setting standards for evaluating the California governor’s overturning of a Board of Prison Terms parole recommendation. At the time of the crime, Rosenkrantz was trying to keep Comment
News

Hard Knock Life

If you ever doubted the brilliance of our Founding Fathers, consider for a moment the separation of Church and State. With God officially on the side of lawyers and politicians, law-abiding citizens would be hard pressed to ever challenge the government. Thankfully, that’s never been a problem in the good old U.S.A. (although in the ever-growing fight against “evildoers,” we’re coming awfully close). Ireland, however, is a different story; at least it was before 1953, when an unemployed tradesman named Desmond Doyle challenged the constitutionality of an Irish law. The law, called the Children’s Act of 1941, allowed children of single-parent homes to be placed in Comment
News

Historic Vote Caps 31-Year Effort At Long Last, Victory

Jeff Soref and Matt Foreman of Empire State Pride Agenda Amidst tears, hugs, smiles, cheers, sighs of relief, and no small amount of recriminations, the New York State Senate voted 34 - 26 on December 17 to adopt a bill that adds “sexual orientation” to the list of protected categories in the state human rights law. Twenty-one Democrats and 13 Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Troy) who once vehemently opposed it, voted aye. Just an hour before the vote, the outcome was in doubt due to intense lobbying against it from the state Conservative Party and Roman Catholic bishops. “The time has come,” Bruno said. It was the first tim Comment
News

What Went Right

In the wake of Tuesday’s historic vote, the high stakes, high profile, high voltage battle in the LGBT community during the past several weeks over whether the New York State gay rights law could […] Comment
News

Mohammed to Falwell: Shut Up

Fundamentalist Baptist minister Jerry Falwell, who has for years reviled gay people, calling them “perverts,” recently expanded his horizon to revile the entire Islamic religion, calling […] Comment
Arts

Moody Blues

SMOKER ONLY : stars Leonardo Brezicki and Pablo Razuk A hypnotic and complex character study, Smokers Only is an exquisitely filmed drama about two aimless youths drawn to each other in the Argentine night. This haunting film—leisurely paced, and episodically structured—boasts a seductive yet seedy atmosphere that pulls the viewer into its dreamscape. Reni (Cecilia Bengolea) is a suicidal singer in a band who feels her life lacks meaning and purpose. One night, she spies Andreas (Leo Brezicki), a bisexual hustler turning tricks with various men in the city’s ATM vestibules. Reni finds Andreas intriguing, and after watching him participate in several of these highly e Comment
News

Press Freedom and Public Forums

A federal judge in Georgia ruled November 19 that a public library did not violate the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment freedom of press guarantees when it removed all non-governmental publications from a free periodicals table in its lobby after some members of the public complained about the presence of a gay newspaper among those being distributed. The Ohoopee Regional Library System had permitted The Gay Guardian, a local gay community newspaper edited by Ronald Marcus, to be included with other free publications on a table in the front lobby of its Vidalia-Toombs County, Georgia, library. After some patrons complained to the librarian about the presence of a gay newspap Comment
News

Prevention’s Further Politicization

A meeting sponsored by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention challenged roughly 100 AIDS activists and experts to “take a fresh look at the HIV epidemic and generate new ideas and new perspectives on HIV prevention and control in the United States.” But the presence at the meeting of right wing organizations that are openly hostile to AIDS groups and looking to slash federal AIDS dollars may have stifled any conversation. “I can’t think of another meeting that I’ve been at where overtly political groups that aren’t doing any HIV prevention work are at the table,” said Terje Anderson, executive director of the National Ass Comment
Arts

Santa vs. Anna

Paula Tushbai If Santa Claus listened to DJ Junior Vasquez’s Anna Nicole Show remix and watched Anna Nicole’s Holiday Special, he’d say: “No presents for Anna Nicole Smith! Cause […] Comment
News

Lovers and Other Strangers

My bullying best friend After 13 years without a serious boyfriend, I have been dating Charlie for the past five months. My straight world of family, friends, and co-workers seem supportive. While I […] Comment
Arts

St. Joan of Bethlehem

I knew as soon as they walked in the door they weren’t going to last very long. About two minutes before the curtain rose on Christmas With the Crawfords, the hilariously naughty anti-holiday spectacle that’s the theatrical equivalent of a Big Gulp of spiked eggnog, a family of four—mom, dad and two young kids—walked in and took their seats in the back. Sure enough, about ten minutes later, when an eight-foot-tall Shirley Temple—a living drag queen’s nightmare in a polka dot dress and enough crinoline to cover Manhattan—walked on stage, the horrified quartet ran out of the theater faster than you can say “Refund.” It was alternately amusing and t Comment
Arts

The Callas Divide

Opera queens are of two camps (as it were) on the subject of legendary opera diva Maria Callas. Twenty-five years after her death, a mention of her name is sufficient to polarize any group of opera lovers. Her detractors liken her voice to some unlistenable amalgam of those annoying NYC taxicab announcements and the soundtrack to a PETA film about inappropriate animal experimentation. Furthermore, they find her dramatic interpretations to be overwrought posturings thatcannot quite conceal her shaky technique. Those of us on the other side of this dispute liken her voice to well-aged balsamic vinegar: dark, complex, and richly mellowed, but retaining sufficient acidic pungency for moments of dramatic intensity. Her int Comment
News

The Fire on the Right Has Cooled

Gender rights advocade Josephine Perez confronts anti-SONDA protestor Michael Brenner. Photo by Doug Meszler In 1986, just one day before the City Council in New York City was to vote on a bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, opponents of the bill held a rally outside City Hall. Actually, it was more like a hate fest. “Members of the same sex not only should not make love because it is immoral, they cannot make love because it is impossible,” said one Roman Catholic priest. “Sodomy is both hygienically and morally repulsive and it’s because nature has made it that way.” Another speaker said “[T]he real civil rights issue Comment
Arts

Tower Power

MIDDLE EARTHILINGS: Elijah Wood and Sean Astin. I realize I may be the only person on the planet who feels this way, but Lord of the Rings 1: The Fellowship of the Ring did not blow me away. Yes, the first part of Peter Jackson’s epic was sweeping, and monumental, and visually stunning, but I found it somewhat monotonous—and even tedious—in its pedantic commitment to its literary source. Despite wonderful performances and great special effects, it was a bloated affair hampered not only by a frustratingly linear story, but also by a lack of drama. Happily, The Two Towers improves upon its predecessor in every regard, with even greater performances, b Comment
Arts

Voices Worth Celebrating

The vocal recital, which calls on totally different gifts and appeals to generally different tastes than staged opera, is regularly proclaimed an endangered species. Sometimes presenters have been hauling out "celebrity appearance" type of programming, with famous recording star divas and divos trotting through well-known chestnuts before turning to arias with piano. Fortunately, besides some excellent singers still devoted mainly to the recital format (Tully headlines Christoph Prégardien, March 9, and Matthias Goerne, April 12), there remain some singers equally adept at both art forms. New York heard three of them in the last few weeks (and would have heard another had not Sandr Comment
Arts

Water Drops

EXTRAVAGANTLY MINIMAL Tan Dun''s Water Passion at BAM. What was I, an upstanding citizen (heck, the king) of my own, very gay universe doing in the middle of Brooklyn listening to a reenactment of Jesus Christ’s bloody crucifixion at Christmastime? Even worse, what was a Chinese, Communist Revolution-surviving, Academy Award-winning composer (Best Original Score: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)—and Buddhist!—doing creating a two hour-long musical composition (for lack of a more nuanced word) about Christ’s death and resurrection? These are the kinds of questions that wrapped their way around the synapses of my mind while listening to the exquisite Water Passi Comment
Arts

We Are Family

The Aluminum Group | Happyness Wishing Tree Ignore the top 40! Modern pop music can be smart. The first in a planned trilogy of albums, Happyness showcases Chicago gay siblings John and Frank Navin’s abilities at creating damned fine songs that exalt classic AM radio pop yet forge ahead with poetry, style, and postmodernism. Think Steely Dan and Burt Bacharach having a cocktail at a deco hotel bar with Radiohead and Tortoise. Having emphasized electro-tinged postmodern on their last album (2000’s Pelo), this time the sublimely queer Navins strike a much more accessible balance, largely self-producing while they’re at it. In fact, Happyness pretty much t Comment
News

What the Gay Rights Law Means

If you have been discriminated against for a job, housing, access to a public accommodation, or another covered area because you are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or asexual, you can now file suit […] Comment
Arts

Zero Hour

MAN BITE Ed Norton stars in Spike Lee''s latest Director Spike Lee’s preoccupation with the events of 9/11 first becomes evident during the opening credits of 25th Hour, which spotlight the infamous “Towers of Light” that emanated from Ground Zero at the end of last year. From there, 9/11 is everywhere; not simply alluded to, but prominently highlighted in numerous moments of hats-off, hands-over-heart gravity: lingering shots of a shrine to fallen firefighters, glimpses of Osama bin Laden “Wanted” posters, a tirade on the evils of Al Quaeda, and, most conspicuously, a histrionic overhead shot of Ground Zero, accompanied by bombastic swells of dramatic music. & Comment

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