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Penning a Play about Bill Tilden, Closeted Superstar

He was tall, strong, and broad-shouldered, and very handsome in a horsy kind of way. The sports pages soon started calling him Big Bill, which was a lot more to his taste than the “Junie” he’d hated as a kid––Junie for Junior. Comment

Pistol-Packin’ Mamas

Cult classics work because they appeal, in an ironic “wink-wink” manner, to the audience’s intelligence. Beneath the artifice of the best camp are sociopolitical and psychosexual complexities. Comment

7 Days & 7 Nights

Rev. Karen Damman, who recently married her partner Meredith Savage in Oregon, was acquitted in a church trial of violating Methodist law against practicing gay clergy. Rev. James Finkbeiner, her prosecutor, said that while he believed the jury of 13 pastors overstepped the bounds of church law, “I don’t feel bad about that. I’m glad I lost, on a personal basis.” Comment

New Directors Festival Arrives

“L.I.E.,” “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” “Sitcom,” “Camp,” are some of the cinematic gems that have emerged from the New Directors festival. By the way, there’s never been a shortage of gay film coming out of this international survey of emerging cinematic voices from around the world. Comment

Labor Cautious on Marriage

Organized labor, long an ally of the queer rights movement in the U.S., is only slowly signing on to the battle against the Federal Marriage Amendment and in support of same-sex civil marriage, but some gay community and labor activists said that the nation’s unions will eventually back the queer community. Comment

The Insidious Reach of Sex Laws

It took a heterosexual this time to prove the point that gay rights advocates have been making for more than half a century: laws governing the private sexual conduct of consenting adults have no place in our society. Comment

Mature, and Spot On

Kenny Scharf first became famous in the go-go 80s. His art was a synthesis of painting, cartoons, psychedelia, Space Age fun, spontaneity, day-glo color, and silliness. It was a sort of Pop Surrealism. Comment

Reading Room

Thursday March 25 Comment

Senate Hearing Revisits Marriage

A day after two key Republicans announced they had rephrased a proposed constitutional amendment seeking to ban same-sex marriage, the Senate Judiciary Committee held another hearing in which the amendment was debated. Comment

The Right Wing’s Bronx Beachhead

Elements of the Christian Right have set their sights on New York State. Comment

7 Days & 7 Nights

ITL revisits the 2003 murder of Sakia Gunn, a 15-year-old lesbian from Newark, New Jersey who was stabbed on her way home from Greenwich Village. The program reveals what happens when LGBT youth have “no place to go.” Channel 13 at 10 p.m. (The program will re-air on Channel 21 on March 30 at 11:30 p.m.) Comment

Woman Warrior

Tall, stunning Beth Clayton has vocal and interpretive gifts that make her one of the hottest young opera singers around. The Arkansas minister’s daughter took City Opera by storm creating the title role in Deborah Drattell’s “Lilith” (2001), and won vociferous acclaim for her powerful Erda in Christopher Alden’s EOS reimagining of “The Rhinegold” (2002). Comment

Sweeping Canadian Marriage Win

Quebec’s highest appellate court on March 19 affirmed a lower court ruling by Justice Louise Lemelin holding that same-sex partners are entitled to marry under Canadian law, dismissing an appeal by a Catholic organization. The court found that the combination of prior appellate decisions on same-sex marriage from Ontario and British Columbia and the federal government’s decision not to appeal those decisions has created a binding national precedent. Comment

Supreme Court Won’t Review SF Contractor Law

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a petition to review the constitutional status of San Francisco’s Equal Benefits Law, which forbids awarding most city contracts to companies that do not provide domestic partnership benefits for their employees on par with those offered spouses. Comment

Short and Bittersweet

The most unifying quality of the nominated films now being distributed as “2004 Oscar Shorts” is their sad quirkiness, a characteristic better suited to short treatment rather than feature-length storytelling, capturing sentiment that risks dilution over a longer viewing time. Comment

Small Town Strife

Lars von Trier is a major filmmaker out of the innovative filmmaking group Dogme 95 (Dogma 95) best known for drafting the group’s ascetic “vow of charity” manifesto that writes off sets, artificial lighting, and soundtrack music as decadent crutches. Comment

Joint Adoption Greenlighted

By a 3-2 majority, a panel of the New York Appellate Division in Rochester ruled on March 19 that an unmarried adult couple may jointly adopt a child. Overturning a decision by Monroe County Family Court Judge Gail A. Donofrio, the appellate court ruled that Nancy Hackett and Sheila Sloan, a lesbian couple residing in Rochester, should have their adoption petition decided on the merits of the best interest of Carolyn B., who is nearing her sixth birthday. Comment

The Thug’s Penetrating Stare

Brutish, badly behaved, and unrepentant, skinheads have for decades provoked both thrills and chills among gay men. Artistic exploration of white, working class masculinity provides ready evidence. From the paintings of Attila Richard Lukacs to the flicks of Bruce LaBruce, homoerotic images of skinheads have gotten exposure in galleries and on indie film screens. These artistic expressions, however, are just representations of the attraction out there in the community. Comment

Bishop Robinson Visits NY

On March 24, the nation’s Episcopal bishops reached a compromise that has roiled the church in America since Robinson’s elevation, allow dissenting parishes to host ministers opposed to the church’s mostly affirmative policies on gays and lesbians. During a three-day convention in Texas, a majority of the 160 bishops, including some of the church’s more conservative leaders, agreed to the plan in an attempt to head off the threatened schism. Comment

By the Year

The latest of evenings featuring Broadway performances particular to a specific year considerably brightened Town Hall two weeks ago with a tribute to 1935. Comment

Chronicle Responds on Pulling Reporters

Reporter Rachel Gordon has written many authoritative pieces about gay marriage and the weddings that took place for about a month in San Francisco for that city’s largest daily, the Chronicle. But last week the paper’s managing editor, Phil Bronstein, and other top editorial staff announced they are pulling her off the story––because she got married. Comment

Bad Behavior Sung So Well

Two divergent examples of modern stage direction were on view at the Metropolitan Opera earlier this month as the company unveiled new productions of “Don Giovanni” and “Salome.” Comment

Araujo Murder Trial BeginsThree men face life in prison in 2002 slaying of transgendered California teen

On October 16, 2002, Jaron Nabors led police to a shallow rock-strewn grave in the California Sierra foothills where he and three friends had, he said, 13 days before, buried the battered body of Newark, California transgendered teenager Gwen Araujo. Comment

Indigo Girls On the Record

The Indigo Girls––Amy Ray and Emily Saliers––are happy to do their part in the fight for same-sex marriage rights, so long as the weapons are vegetarian-friendly. Comment

APICHA, Dissidents Begin Talks

The Asian and Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV-AIDS (APICHA) and a protest group of former and current clients, former staffers, and their supporters have entered into “non-binding mediation” in an effort to end a years-long fight that resulted in APICHA suing the others earlier this year. Comment

Cinemascope

BLIND SHAFT Adapted from a novel by Liu Qingbang, “Blind Shaft” is a gritty fable of morality and murder. Set against the backdrop of China’s illegal mining and the nation’s deteriorating […] Comment

A Bus Ride to the Freedom Trail

We caught the 8 a.m. bus to Boston on a brisk, but bright March 11. Comment

Clergy Defy Law at City Hall

For the first time in history, gay couples were wed at New York’s City Hall by religious leaders defying state law that forbids them from performing marriages for unlicensed couples. Comment

Gay Marriage’s Challenge to Fertility

The vehemence of the opposition to same-sex marriage should make those of us who are in favor of it look at the real reasons for the furor. It’s not enough anymore to end the discussion with the simple conclusion that everyone who decries this innovation must be a closed-minded bigot. Comment

Homeland Security Recipe

The kitchen as a metaphor for life is not a new conceit, but it is still a powerful one. Few other rooms in the house have the associations of a kitchen: food, unity, how we express ourselves. Comment

Polygamy Slips the Noose

Does this week’s change in the wording of the federal marriage amendment [FMA] mean that the proponents are desperate? Doesn’t this mean they can’t get the support? I wonder if we are getting exercised about something and doing a lot of fear mongering about something that will not see the light of day. One thing that bothers me about the gay community is that there is always a Chicken Little attitude. Maybe we should put faith in the fact that people see the amendment as a terrible thing for our nation and the Constitution. Comment

Fresh Produce(rs)!

Darn that snow. Besides bumming our ready-for-spring selves out, it kept us from Courtney Love’s literally head-banging surprise at Plaid. We also missed Love doing a cover of Til Tuesday’s “Voices Carry” at Bowery Ballroom the next night, but one of our pals who was present told us that not only did she not remember all the lyrics to her own songs, but she held out the microphone and let the audience do it. Comment

Dance Card

Stephen Petronio Company’s 20th anniversary season features the New York premiere of “The Island of Misfit Toys.” Unwinding like a series of adult gothic nursery rhymes, this work features music by experimental rock icon Lou Reed and set design by renowned set designer Cindy Sherman. “The Island of Misfit Toys” completes a triptych program that also includes last season’s critically acclaimed “City of Twist,” with original music by Laurie Anderson, and “Broken Man,” a solo performance by Petronio. The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave. Tickets are $38. For reservations, call 212 242 0800 or visit joyce.org. Mar. 23 – 28, Tue. at 8 p.m., Wed. through Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.. Comment

curtain call

Tulips and Cadavers Jimmy Camicia, co-founder, artistic director, and chief writer of the gay scene’s internationally applauded Hot Peaches theater troupe has written a new play. “I was writing a play about Jean Genet,” Camicia says, “and discovered that at the end of his life Genet became interested in Rembrandt. He even wrote a paper on him. I couldn’t see the connection. This was so unlike Genet. I was not interested in Rembrandt, but I started looking at these paintings, wanting to know why the hell is this guy so great. What’s so great about him? “Well, what I found out is that if you look at a lot of them, you realize that all his life he’s painting Comment

Reading Room

Friday March 19 Comment

Smitten With Recurring Memories

Carrey and Winslet so deeply in love even mind-altering science can’t save them Following his critically acclaimed debut movie, “Being John Malkovich,” the sophomore slump kicked in […] Comment

Rembrandt-Inspired Drama

A painter speaks: “What do you see when you look at my ‘Anatomy Lesson of Professor Tulp,’ that phony little bastard? …There’s Tulp, pontificating —I mean, lecturing—to a bunch of men huddled around a corpse. Comment

Married and Off the Story

After publishing some of the finest coverage on the gay marriage events in northern California, the San Francisco Chronicle has laid one giant egg. Comment

Southern Send-Up

Imagine “Hee-Haw” as an urban rock opera. “This is a True Story” is the witty, artful, and entertaining conception of Brooklyn-based dancer-choreographers Aaron Draper (originally from the Bay Area) and Daniel Clifton (originally from Niceville, Florida). Along with their collaborators Ephrat Asherie, Darrin P. Bennet, Naima Bigby, Prosenjit Kundu, and Amy Larimer, they have devised a Southern-fried evening of sultry modern dance, hip hop, breaking, and live rock n’ roll. Comment

7 Days & 7 Nights

Commissioners in one of Tennessee’s most conservative counties are asking legislators to amend Tennessee state law so that the county can charge homosexuals with “crimes against nature,” the AP reported Wednesday. Comment

Nyack’s Gay Mayor Sues to Wed

After bold initiatives in Massachusetts, California, New Mexico, and Oregon to affirm the right to civil marriage for same-sex couples, momentum is building on the issue here in New York State. Comment

Oregon AG Predicts Gay Marriage

In a carefully-drafted opinion letter addressed to Governor Ted Kulongoski and made public on March 12, Myers, a Democrat, responded to some of the questions posed by the governor after local officials in Multnomah County, which includes the city of Portland, announced ten days earlier that they would begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Several hundred couples have been married since that announcement. Comment

The Cultural Cleft Dulled

The new staging of “Fiddler on the Roof” is nothing if not the most sumptuous production of the show I have ever seen. Comment

Up For Grabs in Massachusetts

Coming on the same day that the California Supreme Court stepped in to halt same-sex marriages in San Francisco, the vote on March 11 by the Massachusetts Legislature giving preliminary approval to a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman felt like the drop of the other shoe. Comment

Wedging For the Latino Vote

The public gets it. That much is already clear. A poll released this week by The New York Times and CBS News shows that even though a majority of Americans are opposed to same-sex marriage, they also see the effort to enact a constitutional amendment barring such unions for the diversion that it is. Comment

Unusual Gay Student Loss

Few areas of gay rights litigation in recent years have been more predictable than lawsuits to compel local school districts to allow gay/straight student alliances to meet on campus. But the unbroken string of victories ended in Lubbock, Texas, where a federal judge ruled on March 3 that the local school district did not violate either the First Amendment or the Equal Access Act when it refused to let such a group meet on campus or distribute or post its flyers there. Comment

The Past Illuminates A Promising Present

Notions of greatness excite and revolt serious and not-so-serious artists everywhere. Comment

Stepping Up the Anti-Crystal Push

A 38-year-old former crystal meth addict recalled dining out on New Year’s of 2001 and struggling to perform the simple math needed to divide the bill for the meal. Comment

Tackling a Gridiron Taboo

In professional sports, particularly of the team variety where groups of guys huddle and shower together, coming out of the closet (or locker, as it were) is tantamount to career suicide. Dictated by a misdirected machismo that dominates the field, athletic prowess requires a “real” man. Comment

State Senator Explains Rally Role

On March 17, state Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr., a Bronx Democrat, spoke to Gay City News from the Dominican Republic, where the lawmaker said he was visiting with Pres. Hipólito Mejía to discuss the needs of his district’s Dominican American constituents and the issues faced by evangelical Christians in the Caribbean nation. Comment

A Wide Swath of Americana

The 2004 Whitney Biennial exhibition showcases the new work of 108 American artists and collaborative groups from across three generations. Comment

APICHA Sues Former Clients

In an extraordinary legal maneuver, the Asian and Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV-AIDS (APICHA) has sued a group of former clients, former staffers, and their supporters who organized a series of protests last year charging that the agency’s services are inadequate. Comment

A Queen With Substance

When we approached 45-year-old John Kelly, the multi-talented musical artist, for an interview, he was shocked. Comment

A Truly Starry Night

In crafting a musical based on the life of Vincent Van Gogh, Robert Mitchell has set a tremendously high bar for himself—to create art from the process of art. The storytelling resources available to Mitchell are limited––what is known about Van Gogh comes mostly from 650 or so letters he wrote to his brother Theo. That limitation tends to give a very narrow perspective and self-involved focus to the narrative. Comment

A Life in Song, Sung Proudly

Ollmann enjoyed a long professional association with Leonard Bernstein, including his first major recording project, Comment

A Jazzman at Home

But “gay aesthetic” is not for Hersch. Comment

7 Days & 7 Nights

In honor of Women’s History Month, Gay Men’s Health Crisis presents “Women Inspiring Hope and Possibility: Personal Testimonies of Heterosexual Women in the HIV/AIDS Epidemic.” Heterosexual women living with HIV and AIDS will be able to come together and share their stories, gather support and look at ways to enhance their lives. Refreshments will be served. Hosted by Women and Family Services. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at GMHC, 119 W. 24 St. For more information call 212 367 1016 or e-mail krishnas@gmhc.org. Comment

African Americans Boost Gay Marriage

On Sunday, March 14, in a move to express organized African American support for same-sex marriage, City Councilmember Philip Reed hosted a press conference that included community leaders and other elected officials on the steps of City Hall. Comment

Bronx Jeer Against Equality

On Sunday morning, March 14, opponents of same-sex marriage filled the steps of the county courthouse on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, called to action by state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., a Democrat, who supports amending the U.S. Constitution to prohibit marriage for gays and lesbians. Diaz is a Pentecostal minister who mobilized other Bronx clergy members to bring together a crowd that Diaz later estimated at 30,000 people. Published police estimates put the crowd of protesters between 5,000 and 7,000. Comment

Ca. Supreme Court Stops Gay Marriages

It’s over. The eventuality that so many gays and lesbians seeking marriage equality feared happened last Thursday, March 11. Comment

Opponents Peddling Selective, Defective Readings

I read a letter to the editor recently in the Walla Walla Bulletin [in Washington State], that mentioned you. The letter writer wrote: “I have learned recently that homosexual activists actually have a hidden agenda in their effort to gain legal status for same-sex relationships: They want to destroy the concept of marriage altogether! The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) has recently published a report that quotes homosexual activists about this real agenda. One of them is Michelangelo Signorile, who says that homosexuals should ‘fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely.’” Comment

End of the World All Over the Stage

Last week in London the weather was dismal, the tabloids screamed that the British capital would be Al Qaeda’s target after Madrid, and the pound weighed in at $1.85. Comment

Dance Card

Stephen Petronio Company’s 20th anniversary season features the New York premiere of “The Island of Misfit Toys.” Unwinding like a series of adult gothic nursery rhymes, this work features music by experimental rock icon Lou Reed and set design by renowned set designer Cindy Sherman. “The Island of Misfit Toys” completes a triptych program that also includes last season’s critically acclaimed “City of Twist,” with original music by Laurie Anderson, and “Broken Man,” a solo performance by Petronio. The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave. Tickets are $38. For reservations, call 212 242 0800 or visit joyce.org. Mar. 23 – 28, Tue. at 8 p.m., Wed. through Sat. at 8 p.m., Sun. at 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.. Comment

curtain call

BRIDGE & TUNNEL Creating a show-within-a show, the supremely gifted performance artist Sarah Jones’s latest play is based on a poetry slam in South Queens. In this archly provocative play, Sarah Jones, who is of African, European, and Caribbean descent, plays 14 characters from myriad ethnic backgrounds who recite their poetry or perform soliloquies onstage. Without a trace of sentimentality, the play shows the travails of assimilation and racial intolerance in America, as well as revealing common traits some folks would rather ignore. Jones does not hesitate to play the “green card” to drive home her messages in monologues gleaned from months of interviews with immigrants, many of Comment

Cinemascope

BLIND SHAFT Adapted from a novel by Liu Qingbang, “Blind Shaft” is a gritty fable of morality and murder. Set against the backdrop of China’s illegal mining and the nation’s deteriorating […] Comment

Irish Queers Offer Poetry and Prose

Gusts of wind whipped between the Fifth Avenue skyscrapers of midtown Manhattan lifting up snow, and depositing it on the heads of those gathered for New York City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. But despite the late winter bluster, as they have each year for more than a decade, gay and lesbian Irish Americans and their allies turned out Wednesday to protest their exclusion from the organized festivities. Comment

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