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Iran and the Death of Gay Activism

The architect of Iran’s lethal anti-gay crackdown, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will be in New York City next week, where he will address the United Nations General Assembly on September 14. Comments (2)

Brian Ellner grabs media spotlight

In a statement of gay pride that was also a brilliant political stroke, Brian Ellner, a gay attorney and former elected community school board president running in the crowded September 13 Democratic Party primary for Manhattan borough president, released a television ad this week that he believes is the first time in city history that a gay candidate has gone on the air with his or her partner in a campaign commercial. Others said it might have been the first time it’s ever happened in the nation. Comment

California Senate Poised on Marriage

If things go as advocates expect, sometime Thursday California’s red-carpeted Victorian State Senate chamber in Sacramento will become famous as the place where, for the first time in American history, a full legislative body has voted yes for same-sex marriage—without being told to do so by a state’s courts. Comment

Clipped Wings of the Closet

Talent is a deep mystery, but in Guinness’ case, the secret of his celebrated range is Comment

At the Vanguard of World Music

The world lives in New York City. Cultures from around the globe move in next door to each other. Streets become national boundaries. In Lower Manhattan, Chinese share a border with Italians. Puerto Ricans share a neighborhood with the Irish. Throughout the city, people of all ethnicities live in the same community, and walk through the streets with iPods piping into their ears music collaged together from distant lands and eras. Popular, mainstream musicians like Rufus Wainwright, Missy Elliot, Dave Matthews, and countless others are already bridging chasms that once seemed to divide the world’s musical styles for mainstream audience through their popular music. Comment

Claiming the Mantle of Ideas

Anthony David Weiner leaned back in a chair, propped his legs up on a windowsill, and yawned now and again as he spoke with a visitor at his William Street campaign headquarters early on an August weekday morning. Comment

A Search Ancient and Never-Ending

Enigmas fill the ancient world––a turtle bests Achilles in a foot race; Zeno’s arrow never reaches the target; the Sphinx dares the traveler to name what animal possesses a different number of legs during different parts of the day. Comment

A Divide in Public Advocate’s Race

New York City’s number two ranking official, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, has the support almost every out gay or lesbian elected official in the city in her bid for re-election. She is also supported by the Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats, the city’s oldest gay political club, the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens, and the Empire State Pride Agenda, the state gay rights lobby group. Comment

An Artist Who Fights Hard

“Hi, it’s so great to see you,” Barbara Nitke chirped, her smile beaming beneath chicly coifed, layered, brunette hair, subtly highlighted. The very attractive, well-scrubbed woman’s conservative dress—no makeup, T-shirt, tailored jeans, elegant jewelry, sensible shoes—and friendly, relaxed demeanor might lead one to mistake her for somebody’s really cool soccer mom. Nitke led me into a well-appointed, East Side apartment with framed photos everywhere. Comment


Gay poet and activist Nathaniel Siegel, a member of Acts of Art (, Poets for Peace, and Poets Against the War (, stenciled the age of every U.S. soldier who has died in the war in Iraq on a canvas outside Tompkins Square Park during this past weekend’s Howl Festival. Comment


Lower Manhattan Cultural Council hosts the first of two international summits focused on arts and culture after catastrophe this September 8-11. Artists, performers, writers, architects, lawyers, scholars, activists, community and political leaders directly affected and transformed by violence will gather in downtown Manhattan in a public exchange of stories, strategies, ideas, and memories. Comment

D.A. Misconduct Nixes Conviction

Finding that an upstate prosecutor’s “egregious misconduct” deprived a gay man of a fair trial on child abuse charges, a unanimous four-judge panel of the New York Appellate Division in Albany reversed his conviction and 50-year prison sentence and ordered that a new trial take place. Justice Karen K. Peters’ opinion also faulted Montgomery County Judge Felix J. Catena’s for flawed handling of the defendant’s attorney’s objections to the admission of his client’s written confession. Comment

Dance and Design Converge

Put 15 fashion designers in one room for a week with lots of fabric, restricted conditions, video cameras, and the challenge to produce wearable art and what do you get? Comment

Ravishing Revivals

It’s always nice to see good live theater work given deserved revivals, and such was the case this week with two productions. Comment

Santa Fe Nights

Four operas received their first Santa Fe Opera productions this summer. Comment

Touting Independence and Consensus

In a nine-person race for the Manhattan borough presidency, in which two of the candidates—Lower East Side City Councilwoman Margarita Lopez and attorney Brian Ellner, a former elected community school board president—are openly lesbian or gay, the decision in early June by the Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats, the city’s oldest queer political club, to endorse Scott Stringer, a straight, six-term state assemblyman from the Upper West Side, caught some observers by surprise. Comment

Web Sexual Expression Imperiled

Lavina is a tiny community in eastern Montana about 30 miles north of Billings. There is a gas station, a post office, and that’s about it. It was in the post office where a 65-year-old man got caught committing a crime that would send him to jail for more than two years. His name is Thomas Lambert, and he as well as co-conspirators Sanford Wasserman and Gary Robinson were prosecuted and convicted of a federal crime, distributing obscenity. Comment

Passion, Corruption in Troubled Land

The many issues plaguing the African continent makes it a natural setting for conflict, both political and personal, and the new film “The Constant Gardener” skillfully combines both. The film is based on the John Le Carre novel, but the story of a diplomat’s wife working to expose large pharmaceutical companies using Africans as guinea pigs does not play out at a potboiler plotted to turn pages; news like this could conceivably come out of almost any African country today. Comment

No Asylum for Gay Peruvian

José Salkeld, a gay man from Peru, lost his bid to have his petitions for asylum and for withholding of removal considered by the Justice Department, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis ruled on August 25 that there was no basis to overturn an adverse ruling by the Board of Immigration Appeals. Comment

Focusing on the Act of Painting

Joan Snyder emerged in the late 1960s and early ’70s with a justly celebrated body of work. With works that quite nearly trespassed into an emotionally flavored abstraction, she brought the vitality of the physical act of painting back into dialogue among artists. Comment

Finding Neither Art Nor Artist

Many artists can’t speak about their work without quoting three French philosophers per sentence. By contrast, photographer William Eggleston tells Michael Almereyda, “Art––you can love it or appreciate it. But you can’t really talk about it. It doesn’t make sense.” Comment

If You Need Debt Relief, Now is the Time

The full employment program for credit counselors is scheduled to start in October, when the revisions in the U.S. bankruptcy code take effect. Comment

The Next Two Weeks Are Key

The five days coming up will be devoted to one last long summer weekend, but by Tuesday, September 13, New York residents and especially members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community need to be ready to make some important decisions. Comment

News Briefs

Pope Benedict XVI is sitting on a blockbuster document from the Vatican mandating that gay men be barred from Catholic priesthood. The paper argues that it is “unfair” to gay men to put them into all-male seminaries, subjecting them to temptation, The Observer (UK) reported. Comment

7 Days in cinema

ONE BRIGHT SHINING MOMENT Before Howard Dean, John McCain, John Anderson, and Jimmy Carter, there was George McGovern, the prairie populist who vowed an immediate end to the Vietnam War in his 1972 presidential campaign against Richard Nixon. But, Nixon, who had allowed tens of thousands of American troops to die since taking office in January 1969, had by mid-’72 convinced America, including a surprising number of its youth, that the war was winding down. McGovern’s peace candidacy became quixotic. The former senator himself comments for this Stephen Vittoria feature, as does Gore Vidal, Gloria Steinem, Warren Beatty, Dick Gregory, Gary Hart, and others. Opens Sep. 16, Quad Cinema. Comment

7 Days and 7 Nights

Volume 75, Number 35 | September 1 - 7, 2005 Comment

A Divide in Public Advocate's Race

Civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, who lost to Gotbaum in a runoff for the Democratic nomination in 2001, is making another run at her, this time with the support of the citywide Stonewall Democratic Club, the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, the Out People of Color Political Action Club, and the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club. Comment

A Very Bad Lieutenant

A slick flick being marketed as lesbian vampirism, “Eternal” opens on a dark and stormy night. The film’s claim to be “inspired by true events” has about as much credibility as its effort to forge a Sapphic market niche. Comment

Antithetic to a Fascist Aesthetic

The branch on the linden is leafy and green Comment

Big Victory for Gay Parents

In a trio of significant opinions issued on August 22, California’s highest court reaffirmed its earlier ruling that a child can have two mothers and then applied that principle to parenting disputes arising from several lesbian partnership break-ups. Comment

Change as the Heart of NYC

In 1929, when she was 31 years old, Ohio-born, Greenwich Village-bred Berenice Abbott––she had, while abroad, added the middle “e” to her first name, French-style––returned from Paris, expecting not to stay in New York very long. Comment

A Long Road From Birmingham

“I don’t think it is necessary to compare… to compare oppression of one group to any other,” said C. Virginia Fields, the Manhattan borough president deliberately, carefully choosing her words, before opening up a more flowing cadence. “Oppression, denial, discrimination, homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism. All of it is wrong.” Comment

California Anti-Marriage Crowd Loses

The battle over same-sex marriage in California is proceeding along two separate paths, with one, initiated by gay rights groups, leading eventually to the State Supreme Court and the other, instigated by opponents of the LGBT community, possibly to the voters in 2006 in the form of two proposed amendments to the state Constitution. Comment

A Hopeful Awakening Among Progressives

August has been the month when the Democratic left came alive. Comment

7 Days in cinema

Upcoming: CHILLFEST This film festival bills itself as “the mostly gay and lesbian film festival of Jersey City,” known to locals as Chilltown. Coinciding with the Jersey City Lesbian and […] Comment

A Categorically Mixed Bag

Though it’s generally wise to curb expectations at the rough-and-tumble New York Fringe Festival, some shows breed so much pre-opening buzz you can’t help but hope to be wowed. If you’re lucky, these hopes are gloriously fulfilled. Comment

A Child’s Primer on Intelligent Design

See the Bible. The Bible is a textbook. It is all you will ever need to know about anthropology, zoology, astronomy, psychology, or nuclear fission. Why is the Bible all you need to know? Comment

Costs Mount, Security Eludes

Mountain ranges and bodies of water have often served as natural boundaries between people and nations. A wall, however, is a man-made barrier most unna Comment

Didactic, Yet Hopeful

Edward Miller’s new drama “Revolution Row,” has a dystopian setting ten years in the future, in a time when conservative Republicans have made abortion illegal, reinstated prayer in the schools, and declared homosexuality more or less illegal. Rebels have decided to stand up against these injustices, but find themselves locked up in a federal prison. The sometimes heavy-handed plot aims to serve as a cautionary tale, but could just as easily be a look at our society half a century ago—or, more chillingly, today. Comment


In a strong show of unity, four leading advocacy groups in the LGBT community announced their opposition to President George W. Bush’s nomination of U.S. Court of Appeals Judge John G. Roberts to the Supreme court. Comment

North Carolina Clings to Sodomy Law

The North Carolina Court of Appeals, an intermediate appeals court, ruled on August 16 that Greg Whiteley’s conviction for engaging in oral sex with a woman must be set aside because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas, but that the 2003 high court ruling does not require the outright invalidation of the state’s “crime against nature” criminal statute. Comment

The Hunt for Big City Love

A candy-colored comedy, set in gay Taipei, “Formula 17” is a cheerful queer romance filled with upbeat Asian pop tunes and cute young guys. The film is an intoxicating love story—light as a feather, but also about as deep as a thimble. Comment

Truth or Dare

With “Dedication, Or The Stuff of Dreams,” Terrence McNally has written a heartfelt, original valentine to three unavoidable and essential components of life—relationships, death, and theater. Comment

Wilder Than We Knew

Services Comment

When West Meant Best

That we now live in the most debased of times was proven without a doubt by the recent Comedy Central TV Friars’ Roast of Pamela Anderson. Although The New York—don’t you know, we’re really hip, too!—Times saw fit to give it front page arts coverage, this one really scraped bottom as a craven display of vulgarity with Anderson’s ex, Tommy Lee, complacently listening to and adding his own crass references about her vagina and her fellatio expertise. A desperate Andy Dick actually gropes her famous breasts for a TV eternity. What hath Mae West, that pioneering female sex crusader, wrought? Comment

News Briefs

Weld Flip-Flops on Marriage Comment

Morgenthau’s Gay Support Strong

Robert Morgenthau has been the Manhattan district attorney for 32 years—nearly the entire span of the modern gay civil rights movement. And despite some criticisms of his slowness to include out gay people on his staff and his aggressive prosecutions of activists protesting in the streets, most of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender political community is sticking with him as Leslie Crocker Snyder, a former judge, gives him his first real primary in 20 years. Comment

Fringe Binge

Armed with a good map of Lower Manhattan and blessed with a fairly flexible schedule, it’s amazing how much theater one can cram into a few days at the Fringe Festival. The ninth annual event, which winds down this weekend, now boasts more than 180 different performances and is the largest festival of its type in North America. Comment

Federal AIDS Funding Debated

Activists joined representatives from the city and the state to strategize about the likely impact of changes to the Ryan White AIDS Care Act, the leading federal vehicle for funding AIDS treatment and services, which is due to be reauthorized by Congress this fall. Comment

Iran’s Anti-Gay Purge Grows

There have been reports of another execution of a gay man in the city of Arak, Iran, on August 16, and of the execution of four other men, aged 17 to 23, for unspecified “sexual offenses.” Comment


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Mayoral Hopefuls Speak on AIDS

The four Democrats who want to be New York City’s next mayor answered questions about AIDS policies to a packed audience in Harlem last week. Comment

7 Days and 7 Nights

The Federation of East Village Artists will host its third annual counter-cultural country fair, which will include more than 200 events scattered through the East Village and the Lower East Side and centered in Tompkins Square Park. The weekend of the Aug. 26-28 will include many free events in the park. For complete information on what’s coming up or to get involved, visit Comment


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