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Brokeback on the Down Low

Amidst all the analysis by the press and self-congratulations of the Hollywood community surrounding the release of the ground-breaking film “Brokeback Mountain,” one thing has been completely missed about the movie’s two male leads—they’re on the down low. Comment

Before and After

As is well known, Terrence Malick’s transit from MIT professor to New Hollywood wunderkind to recondite philosopher king is one of the most distinctive careers in the whole American cinema. Seven years on from his brilliant, uneven “The Thin Red Line,” it retrospectively appears a threshold Malick had to cross out of his preceding 20-year-long self-willed seclusion. Comment

Chita’s the Champ

I’ve never seen anyone so radiant as Chita Rivera at the Copacabana opening night party for her show, “The Dancer’s Life” on December 11. In a gorgeously revealing scarlet gown, she joyously worked the press line, emerald eyes blazing with excitement, while hilariously receiving a much-needed margarita from composer John Kander. Bebe Neuwirth stood patiently by for her photo op with the star, which she seized with Joan Crawford chutzpah, doing a full balletic bow to the floor before her, for the paparazzi’s benefit. Comment

Fed Appeals Court Asylum Outrage

A federal appeals court panel majority has rejected a plea by a gay man from Zimbabwe that he be allowed to remain in the United States, concluding that despite the strongly anti-gay policies of that nation’s government, the petitioner had not shown any individual basis for fearing persecution. Incredibly, the panel came to that conclusion even thought the man had been arrested and imprisoned once for being gay before he escaped the country after jailers were bribed to let him go. Comment

ESPA Wades into Uncertain Waters

When the historic decision granting same-sex couples marriage rights was overturned by Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s appeal this month, there were no demonstrations in the streets or even press conferences decrying the reversal. Comment

A Metropolitan Tragedy

It’s not like there’s anyone who wants new operas to fail. In fact, audiences, critics, and opera companies alike have huge stakes in seeing new works succeed. And goodness knows the Metropolitan Opera, like any reputable opera company, has a responsibility to present recent compositions. However, reviews are not for good intentions; I have to write about results. On that basis I have to say Tobias Picker’s “An American Tragedy” (seen December 8) is an expensive fizzle. Comment

Alive and Kickin’

Back in 1993, when Broadway veteran Chita Rivera was slated to star as Aurora in “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” some feared she was too old for such a vigorous role. After all, she’d been hoofing the boards for nearly 40 years. But, boy, did she prove them wrong. The dynamo won a Tony Award for her electrifying performance. Comment

7 Days and 7 Nights

Klezmer Lesbians Comment

7 Days in dance

Volume 4, Number 51 | December 22 - 28, 2005 Comment

7 Days in cinema

BALLETS RUSSES “Ballets Russes” usefully renovates a neglected eminence, chronicling the company’s history 1909 as the inspiration of Sergei Diaghilev, the polymath Russian expatriate, who drew Matisse, Picasso, and Stravinsky into orbit around the nucleus of choreographers Mikhail Fokine, Léonide Massine, and dancer Vaslav Nijinksy. The highly wrought script manages the feat of compressing an 80-year history into exactly two vacuum-packed hours. Yet, it would have been more valuable still had it accurately conveyed the company’s uniquely progressive queer reality. Film Forum. (Ioannis Mookas) Comment

7 Days of Readings

WOMEN’S POETRY JAM Susan Scutti does not come near her favorite writers, among them Doris Lessing and Patricia Highsmith, but she’s trying. Her book “A Kind of Sleep” is a story of reinvention. Linda Lerner’s chapbook “Because You Can’t, I Will” deals with the aftermath of her partner’s death and how her new cat Samsara and his background improvisational jazz has helped her to endure. Open mike sign-up starts at 7 p.m., so come and deliver (up to) 8 minutes of your poetry, prose, songs, and spoken word. Bluestockings, 172 Allen St., btwn. Stanton & Rivington Sts/ $3-$5 suggested donation. 212.777.6028 Comment

Adult Zoning High Court Split

New York’s highest court has issued its fourth ruling in the long-running saga of one of the earliest initiatives of the Giuliani administration—the crackdown on “adult businesses” in New York City through a zoning ordinance intended to sharply reduce the number of such businesses and limit them to relatively remote industrial areas. Comment

Improbable Connections

The door to the gallery could have a sign, “Mad Scientist at Work/Large Unexplainable Drawing Ahead.” Like Petri dishes in a lab, these drawings resonate with strange and unfamiliar forms. The exhibition’s title, “One Hundred Days In a Year,” seems to imply the solar system has gone metric. This may be close to the truth as the work of John O’Connor compares and contrasts with measurement precision with drastic results. Comment

In the Name of Research

This is where I came in, back in the ‘70s, climbing stairs to watch folks in lofts experiment with movement. On offer this time—an evening hosted by “poetician” Robert Kocik and choreographer Daria Fain, bearing the wide-loaded title, “INTIMATION (Or Cellular self-determination by means of the Prosodic Body).” This public event was the culmination of four work sessions devoted to topics such as “words that materialize and dematerialize the world,” “biochemical and physiological pathways of words,” “internal alchemy,” and “totipotent words, athanatology, somatic immortality through words, types of timelessness.” Comment

Remembering Eugene McCarthy

“God dammit,” the kid was now saying, “God damn him to hell. Why won’t he do what we’ve scheduled him to do? Why won’t he come show his face and shake hands with the people on this street?”—whatever main street it was in whatever town it was—Nashua, Manchester, Concord, Claremont, they all blur together when you’re on the Sisyphus-like campaign grind. Comment

Privacy Concerns

Michael Haneke’s never come across a genre he didn’t want to implode—family melodrama in “The Seventh Continent” and “The Piano Teacher,” horror in “Funny Games,” science fiction in “Time of the Wolf.” With “Caché,” he’s made a thriller that retains all the form’s tension while offering little of its satisfactions and catharsis. Its mysteries start with surveillance tapes sent to TV host Georges (Daniel Auteuil) and spiral out from there, taking in his past and France’s troubled history with its former Arab colonies. Comment

Romney Bows Out in Massachusetts

When the Republican governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, announced last week that he would not seek re-election in 2006, most speculation focused on when he would declare his candidacy for the U.S. presidency. Absent from the news was what Romney’s decision meant for gay marriage in Massachusetts, the issue upon which Romney, as an ardent opponent, used to burnish his national image, and made a central election issue in the state. Comment

Spying on Gay Groups Bared

As the Bush administration was scrambling to deal with the fallout from a New York Times report last Thursday evening that it is engaged in wiretapping of American residents talking to others outside the country—in seeming contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Security Act of 1978—an NBC News report over the weekend documented a more widespread pattern of surveillance on organizations within the United States. Comment

Group Sex Clubs OK in Canada

In a 7-2 ruling that is the jurisprudential equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Lawrence v. Texas sodomy decision from two years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that public morality is not a sufficient justification for criminal prosecution of the owners of two Montreal establishments that facilitated group sex activities. Comment

Whitman, Gay American Hero

Most high school students are forced to suffer their way through “Oh Captain! My Captain!” which Kantrowitz accurately describes as having “a sing-song rhythm, a rigid rhyme scheme, and mawkish imagery to honor the fallen leader [Abraham Lincoln].” They are unlikely to be given the “Calamus” poems, in any of their versions, the originals with masculine pronouns, or the versions bowdlerized and cleaned up by the “Good Gray Poet” himself for mass-consumption, pronouns nicely changed to hide the sticky facts. (Kantrowitz is very good on Whitman’s reasons for this self-censorship.) Comment

Primitive Dream Therapy

When the cast howled together like a pack of wolves crying to a klieg light on a stand, I sensed Compagnie Marie Chouinard is about getting to the primal. Their season opened at the Joyce December 13 with two New York premieres that stretch musicality to outer bounds, as did their “24 Preludes” at Fall for Dance. The Canadian choreographer Chouinard links movements with sounds—including those outside of dance and music—with great facility and sophistication, approaching the primal and musicality anew. Comment

Other 2006 Pride Agenda Priorities

While Alan Van Capelle readily conceded that marriage is dominating the queer community’s agenda in New York, the executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA) said that in the coming year his group would be moving forward on other issues with the state government. Comment


December 19, 2005 Comment

Beyond Bloomberg and Beyond Belief

In letters to the editor from Democratic State Senator Tom Duane and two leading gay political clubs, Brooklyn’s Lambda Independent Democrats and the Out People of Color Political Action Club, the […] Comment

New Hope for Homeless LGBT Youth

Santa Claus came early to the homeless LGBT youth of New York City in more ways than one. On Christmas Eve, the Metropolitan Community Church of New York will celebrate an unexpected gift of $100,000 from an anonymous member to launch one of the first new 24-hour crisis shelters for homeless youth since the establishment of Covenant Comment

News Briefs

Civil Partnerships in Full Swing in Britain Comment

One More Round

Eugene O’Neill was no stranger to the narcissistic alcoholic and the havoc such folk wreak on the lives around them. Yet there is an underlying anger in his portrayal of Cornelius Melody in “A Touch of the Poet” that digs deeper, is more lost in illusion, and more destructive to himself and his family than other O’Neill characters. In this harsh portrait of dissipation and delusion, we see not only the wreck of an individual, but the shallowness of self-aggrandizement that permeates our culture as much today as it did in 1942 when the play was first written. Comment

Nostalgic Fantasies

Jack Pierson’s reminiscences celebrate the past, but with cynicism and angst An exhibition of Jack Pierson’s early sculptures and installations, spanning two decades from 1982 to 2002, seems […] Comment

White House Aging Summit Falters

LGBT elder representatives expressed disappointment with the decennial White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA), held December 11-14 in Washington with 1,200 state delegates present. In a December 13 written statement, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, with representatives attending the WHCoA as observers, urged “explicit inclusion” of LGBT concerns, stating the fear that the special needs of the queer elder community would go unnoted in the official record. Comment


Mild-mannered, middle-aged adorableness from Norway At the outset of Baktruppen’s “Un-Do-Three”—presented at PS 122’s NØ5 Norway in New York festival of Norwegian […] Comment

Conspicuous Consumption of a Mad Activist

Dear Panasonic Corporation, Comment

Can the Democrats Make the Case Against War?

In the past week, smiles came easily to Republicans while Democrats were left fidgeting. Comment

Edward Albee’s Intelligent Design

Couples have been bickering ever since the first sea creatures slithered out of the primordial ooze onto dry land. And if that sounds farfetched, check out the delightful revival of Edward Albee’s 1975 Pulitzer Prize winning play, “Seascape,” courtesy of Lincoln Center Theatre. You’ll start believing in absurdities you never thought possible. Comment


LGBT leaders met with executives of the Ford Motor Company this week to complain about the company’s plans to pull ads from gay publications and drop support for gay events, allegedly in a deal […] Comment

Holiday Extravaganza

From skating under the big tree in Rockefeller Center to visiting Macy’s Santaland, New York City has a wealth of holiday traditions all its own. But if watching the Rockettes kick their gams to canned music isn’t your cup of tea, and the office Pollyanna has you wondering what to do with that large bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream sherry, downtown celebrity Murray Hill has created a holiday tradition worth adopting. Comment

From Film to Stage and Back Again

Mel Brooks’ “The Producers,” in its original Broadway incarnation lived up to the hype—a deliciously satisfying musical and comedy with a brilliant cast. It would be nice to say that the movie adaptation—the film directing debut of the show’s Tony-winning director and choreographer, Susan Stroman—was as much of a delight, but, sadly, the term “canned theater” applies all too well here. It brings to mind the similarly hyped 1964 film version of “My Fair Lady,” in which every stage movement and utterance was preserved like the Holy Grail. What liberties the filmmakers have taken with this show are ill-chosen. Comment

Bourgeois Life, Radical Art

The French artist Yves Klein seemed to be a verb from outer space. The son of two painters, he came to art after pursuing a mastership in judo. He believed that an artist should have a bourgeois life and make radical art. He had a meteoric career that lasted all of eight years. He died of a heart attack in 1962 at 34. His art still carries velocity and pungency. Klein’s objects and performed events are alive in their elegance, audaciousness, and coherence. Comment

Blues in the Night

Now in its second week at Anthology, the new film “Fallen” plunges the viewer into a bath of astringent anomie certain to rinse away the cloying holiday goo. Fabulously bleak and defiantly old-school, this rewarding low-key mystery should not be overlooked. Comment

7 Days of Readings

Join Morris Kaplan author of “Sodom on the Thames: Sex, Love, and Scandal in Wilde Times,” Dec. 9 7 p.m. at Labyrinth Books, 536 W. 112th St (1 train to 110th). 212-865-1588. Comment

7 Days in cinema

BALLETS RUSSES “Ballets Russes” usefully renovates a neglected eminence, chronicling the company’s history 1909 as the inspiration of Sergei Diaghilev, the polymath Russian expatriate, who drew Matisse, Picasso, and Stravinsky into orbit around the nucleus of choreographers Mikhail Fokine, Léonide Massine, and dancer Vaslav Nijinksy. The highly wrought script manages the feat of compressing an 80-year history into exactly two vacuum-packed hours. Yet, it would have been more valuable still had it accurately conveyed the company’s uniquely progressive queer reality. Film Forum. (Ioannis Mookas) Comment

Betty Santoro Dead at 67

Betty Santoro, who was at once one of the fiercest and most warm-hearted lesbian leaders of the past three decades, died on Saturday, December 10 following a cerebral hemorrhage the week before. She was 67 years old. Comment


Mayor Michael Bloomberg is still happy living in his Upper East Side townhouse but the project that could tempt him to try Downtown living is the $50-million, box-shaped condos architect Santiago Calatrava is designing at the South Street Seaport. Comment

Bloomberg Prevails in Marriage Appeal

In a decision that accepts the very arguments that were decisively and unanimously rejected just the previous week by the Constitutional Court of South Africa, four members of a five-judge panel of the New York Appellate Division in Manhattan ruled on December 8 that same-sex couples have no right to marry under the New York State Constitution. The forceful arguments in the dissenting opinion by Justice David B. Saxe, however, completely demolish the logic underlying that ruling. Comment

Urgent Next Steps on New York Marriage

As we have pointed out repeatedly since February, Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg has charted an exceptionally contradictory course on gay marriage rights. By finally expressing his personal support for gay marriage on the very same day that he announced the city would appeal a trial court victory for gay and lesbian marriage plaintiffs in New York City, he essentially borrowed from the John Kerry playbook to allow himself to brag that he was for gay marriage before he was against it. Comment


December 11, 2005 Comment

Saturated, Jewel- Colored Glazes

In 1985, painter Lari Pittman was shot during the burglary of his Los Angeles home. He came back from that experience and used it to push his work to another level. His already visually dense work got denser and more vibrant until eventually they just sang out “Hey Girl, Cum n’ Git It.” That white hot body of work brought a mid-career retrospective in 1996, inclusion in several biennials, international exhibitions, tenure at UCLA, and seats on the boards of directors of two major California museums. Comment

Sasha Waltzes Back to BAM


Skepticism About Frieden’s Vision

AIDS groups are responding negatively to an editorial authored by Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the city’s health commissioner, that argued for more efforts aimed at contacting and testing the sex partners of people infected with HIV as well as broader city oversight of the care for people with AIDS. Comment

Spinning Out of Control

To see the truth of your life, watch as it is replicated in the play of a child. That’s the central conceit of Noah Haidle’s trenchant and disturbing play, “Mr. Marmalade.” The play is a remarkable work of social criticism that skewers the selfishness, carelessness, and emotional violence that is an endemic part of modern culture. Refracted through the imagination of four-year-old Lucy, we see how cell phones, casual sex, and ignoring one another corrode social structures. At the same time, it is a grim forecast of a future when children raised in this emotionally irresponsible fashion will be ill-equipped to face the challenges of adult life. Comment

Two Years Into Anti-Meth Effort

Just over two years since they launched a series of eight town meetings on HIV, crystal, and gay men’s health that altogether drew thousands, Bruce Kellerhouse and Dan Carlson, the founders of the HIV Forum, can say that their efforts made a major contribution to gaining more government dollars to battle meth in New York City and changed the way some gay men view the drug. Comment

Two Gay Asylum Bids Nixed in NYC

The federal appeals court in Manhattan has denied political asylum claims by two foreign-born gay men, ruling against José Joaquin-Porras of Costa Rica on December 8 and Wei Yong Ni of China on December 9. The opinion in the Porras case provides a much more detailed account of the circumstances. Comment

Romancing the Stone

A few years back, Thomas Bezucha was the darling of the LGBT film fest circuit with his micro-budget first effort, “Big Eden.” Hoping to recapture the glory, he penned what he thought would be another small, offbeat indie, but a funny thing happened. Comment

Reacting to NYC Marriage Loss

Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s successful appeal of the historic February court decision ordering him to allow gay couples to marry in New York was not met with angry protests in the streets, but LGBT groups are gearing up to raise the visibility of the issue once again before the state’s highest court hears the case. Some are trying to enlist the help of Bloomberg himself, their adversary in court who told Gay City News this week that he hopes he loses. Comment

Mira and Marsha

On December 5, an impressive conclave of artists converged on the New York State Theatre for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. This lovely program gives a cash prize to young artists in various fields and pairs them with distinguished mentors in their métiers—painter Matthias Weischer with David Hockney, singer Susan Platts with Jessye Norman, theater director Lara Foot Newton with Sir Peter Hall, writer Antonio Garcia Angel with Mario Vargas Llosa, choreographer Junaid Jemal Sendi with Saburo Teshigawara, and Thai filmmaker Aditya Assarat with Mira Nair. Comment

Mayor ‘Hopes’ He Loses on Marriage

Offers to ‘Testify’ for Gay Marriage Before Legislature in Albany Comment

News Briefs

Jamaican AIDS Activist Murdered Comment

Online Obscenity Ban Upheld

A federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled on December 8 that the federal obscenity laws are not rendered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down the nation’s remaining sodomy laws. Comment

Pinter Double Header

I will show you fear in a handful of dust. Comment

7 Days and 7 Nights

The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson Comment


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