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Eric Rofes Dead at 51

Eric Rofes, whose leadership in the LGBT movement dated back to the mid-1970s when he founded Boston Area Gay and Lesbian Schoolworkers, died June 27 on a visit to Provincetown from undetermined natural causes according to police. An organizer, activist, teacher, and author, Rofes was 51 and lived in San Francisco. Comment

TRANS DEMO PLANS FRIDAY CLOUDED OVER PERMIT ISSUE

With less than two days to go before the second annual Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice steps off on June 23, the organizers have yet to obtain the required permits from the police department. Comment

Toward Positive Identity

The 17 essays in “Words to Our Now,” many of which were previously published in literary journals including Callaloo, deal with this vexing identity problem from the standpoints of race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Glave, who teaches at the State University of New York at Binghamton, offers many disturbing examples of challenges to and attacks on a person’s or a group’s sense of identity. These attacks have taken the form of torture, rape, lynching, and homophobic murder. Comment

The Puzzling Truth

It is this critic’s opinion that 99 percent of documentaries released for even limited New York City distribution suck. Documentaries are often easier to release into New York markets because they have few rights issues—usually no product images or music have to be cleared—and often they have a niche audience here that might forgive a documentary’s inconsistencies. Given this conviction, “Wordplay” is the most disappointing movie of the year for me, in that, really, there’s nothing wrong with it. Comment

Tabboo! Gives You Fever

Stephen Tashjian—painter, illustrator, and infamous East Village drag performance legend Tabboo!—is doing it her way at the Paul Kasmin Gallery annex space. As part of the larger “the Name of this show is Not Gay Art” exhibition curated by photographer Jack Pierson, Tashjian, never the reticent one, crosses all of the lines turning his space into a combination gallery, performance installation, thrift shop, tenement loft that Tabboo! inhabits on a near daily basis. Comment

Sodomy Laws’ End 3 Years On

On June 26, the day after New York City’s annual Gay Pride March down Fifth Avenue commemorating the Stonewall riots of June 1969—which transformed a tiny gay rights movement into a mass phenomenon—we will celebrate another momentous milestone, the third anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Lawrence v. Texas sodomy case. Comment

Shifty, Strange, And Luminous

Volume 5, Number 25 | June 22 - 28, 2006 Comment

Sculpting In Time

The literature surrounding the Douglas Gordon retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art emphasizes time and sociology, while I prefer to think of the work as sculpture; this makes the catalog, which is full of mass-media images, seem beside the point. Comment

Representative Ecosystems

Summer of ’95, Bates Dance Festival—the Urban Bush Women reduce Marya Wethers, a second-year dance major at Mount Holyoke College, to helpless sobs. Comment

Privacy v. HIV Data Collection

In 2001, Robin T. Webb moved from New York to Mississippi, the state where he was raised. First diagnosed as HIV-positive in New York in 1991, Webb was familiar with the diagnostic tests that are used to track HIV infection, so it was routine when his Mississippi doctor ordered a test that measures the amount of virus in his blood, or a viral load test, and another that assesses that state of his immune system, called a T cell or CD4 count test. Comment

Pride Through Politics In ‘06

More than two years have passed since a mayor in a small town in upstate New York took it upon himself to perform same-sex marriages; a decision that got us talking about what kind of state we are and what type of state we want to be. Comment

Preserving West Village Gay History

The past is always with us. Sure there are times when it is conveniently put away, or purposefully forgotten, but what happened before always stays around patiently waiting to be remembered or acknowledged. The history of gay New York is slowly becoming part of the official record the city keeps when it honors the past. Comment

Postcards From the Edge

Over Pride weekend MoMA includes in its CalArts film survey two screenings of William E. Jones’ nonfiction feature “Massillon” (1991). Unseen in New York since the 1993 Whitney Biennial, “Massillon” is a crucial, misprized landmark of the New Queer Cinema. Comment

Pier 54 Gala Opens Pride Week

Comedian Kate Clinton was the evening’s host and emcee, as in previous years, and the event featured entertainment by the cast of “Altar Boyz,” Christine Ebersole from “Grey Gardens,” the Lavender Light Gospel Choir, and Flotilla DeBarge. Comment

Park Lewdness Plea Deal Okayed

In what may be only the second instance, a New Jersey Municipal Court judge who has given harsh sentences to gay men convicted of lewdness in the Palisades Interstate Park, accepted a deal in which a gay man who was charged with lewdness pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of violating a park ordinance. Comment

New Briefs

NYS Bill Would Ban ‘Gay Panic’ Defense Assemblyman Ruben Diaz, Jr., a Bronx Democrat, has introduced a bill requiring judges in criminal cases to instruct juries “to disregard appeals […] Comment

Memoirs Of An Apprentice

“It’s about growing up with my closeted gay dad who died right after I came out to my family when I was in college,” Bechdel said of the graphic novel, which she has worked on since 1998. “His death was very likely suicide, but no one knows for sure. The book is an attempt to sort out that very confusing period of my life. It’s also a portrait of my father, who was a pretty interesting character. One of his many jobs was running the family funeral home—that’s where the title ‘Fun Home’ comes from.” Comment

Maximum Overdrive

Emily Johnson grew up in the wild open spaces of Alaska. While her U.S. contemporaries were hanging out at the mall, Johnson was hiking and mountain biking on the Kenai Peninsula. Part Yup’ic Eskimo, she and her family fished from remote beaches, picked cranberries from the local bogs, even hunted moose. Comment

Loneliness And Fantasy

“Two Drifters,” Portuguese writer/director João Pedro Rodrigues’ follow up to his feature debut “O Fantasma,” continues to address the filmmaker’s obsessions regarding love and sex—as well as loneliness and fantasy—with the same hypnotic quality of the previous film. If this drama is not as fiercely erotic as “O Fantasma,” it is because the filmmaker has more on his mind than the sexual gratification of the characters—even though that is integral to the story. Comment

Life Is Ambiguous

In the manner that Cunningham channeled Virginia Woolf and extrapolated on “Mrs. Dalloway,” Holleran employs the tragic widowhood of Mary Todd Lincoln unraveling from inconsolable grief as his own background canvas. The novella is set in today’s Washington, D.C., a city of glaring paradoxes, of “grandeur and shabbiness,” where the nation’s past still resonates in every historical locale; largely occupied by prominent transients or has-beens, with high rents alongside a high crime rate and homelessness, and Log Cabin Republicans and politicians banning gay marriage. Comment

Life Happens

Photographer/director Larry Clark’s fans consider him a provocative maverick, but until now his films have been deeply conservative. Simultaneously, they objectify and demonize youth, combining moralism and prurience in a way that feels deeply American. For him, teen sex is both very dangerous and very hot. He’s quite skilled at creating an aura of reality, especially through his use of nonprofessional actors, and Clark claims that his stories are based on observation; but his debut, “Kids,” still plays like a sensationalistic fantasy. Comment

Letters to the Editor

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Haunting Reminders from the Past

As LGBT New Yorkers gather this Sunday to honor and celebrate the 37th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, two unsettling pieces of news remind us of how society and, unfortunately, the gay community itself too often remain stuck in the past. Comment

Leather, Laughter Under the Sun

A blistering 90-degree sun on Sunday didn’t stop Baroness Helga from sliding her sadistic self into full leather dominatrix gear and heading over to 28th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues, right in front of the gay leather bar the Eagle and the straight strip club Scores. Comment

Jerusalem Hosts World Pride

The gay world might think it has only two major international events to think about this summer, but there’s a third one on the horizon. Comment

JERSEY PANEL FINDS NO FLAW IN ‘YOU’RE GAY, YOU’RE GUILTY’ CASE

New Jersey’s Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct found no “anti-gay bias or other improper judicial conduct” on the part of a Municipal Court judge in Palisades Interstate Park when he concluded during a trial last year that because a lewdness defendant was gay he was in the park to have sex. Comment

In Love, In Flight, In Fall

As a notoriously nervous flyer, I approached with great anxiousness the opening section which details the experience of the plane crash, but I was struck how totally Kessler avoided the ghoulish potential of that terrible moment and instead finds such specific human details, revelation even, about the passengers at the end of their lives. The emotional wallop of the loss sneaks up on us throughout the whole book as the gay men at the center of the inn, which has welcomed the loved ones of the passengers who died in the crash, are changed and challenged by the enormity of this event. Comment

FIRED LESBIAN TEACHER WHO TAUGHT GAY LESSON HAS CLAIM

A federal court’s refusal to dismiss a lesbian teacher’s lawsuit that stemmed from her firing allows her to pursue claims of unlawful discrimination and censorship by the London City School District in Ohio. Comment

Fighting More Than Fires

In just over a year, Captain Brenda Berkman will celebrate 25 years as part of the New York City Fire Department, a position she had to win a federal nondiscrimination suit in order to hold. As a passionate advocate for nontraditional employment for women, Berkman has had to fight at times violent prejudice and discrimination based both on her gender and her sexuality. Her story was recently portrayed in the documentary, “Taking the Heat,” shown on PBS’ Independent Lens and narrated by Susan Sarandon. Comment

Father Figure, Role Model

Murray Louis is not at all surprised that this year’s Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award went to him. The $35,000 award was presented on June 18 at the Festival’s home on the campus of Duke University in North Carolina. Comment

Europe Condemns Poland

The European Parliament at Strasbourg last week voted to condemn Poland and its government for homophobia. The condemnation came in a resolution regarding the increase in racist and homophobic violence in Europe which was offered by the Socialist group, the EuroParliament’s second largest political formation. Comment

Domestic Partners and Leases

Providing a vivid illustration of why domestic partnership is not marriage under another name, as some have claimed, New York County Supreme Court Justice Nicholas Figueroa upheld a determination by the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal that a man who is registered with New York City as the domestic partner of a rent-stabilized tenant is not entitled to have his named added to a residential lease as a co-tenant. Comment

Crowds Respond to Aviance Assault

In one of the largest outpourings of grassroots outrage in recent memory, hundreds of LGBT activists and their supporters marched through Greenwich Village at midday on Saturday, June 17 to reclaim the streets after the gay-bashing of drag queen star Kevin Aviance the week before. Comment

Crazy For You

These are not especially good times for the one-person show; they’re actually quite bleak. The sad theatrical reality is that anyone with a checkbook—or access to one—and a big mouth can get a stage and have at it. And so unsuspecting audiences have been treated to a nearly endless succession of narcissistic eruptions that bill themselves as theater. Women are more likely to chronicle something personal, usually about their bodies, usually messy. Men, on the other hand, tend to try to show off their serious acting chops by invoking dead legends and trying to create an annuity for themselves along the lines of Hal Holbrook in “Mark Twain Tonight.” Comment

Confirmed Dead or Wounded

The following members of the United States Armed Forces died during the past week in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since the inception of hostilities, 2,508 service members have died, 2,364 of them since President George W. Bush declared an end to major combat operations on May 1, 2003. Thus far 18,572 service members have been wounded in action. Comment

Challenging Commodities

Robert Watts, a member of the fluxus movement, passed away in 1988, but his irrepressible spirit is present in a lively exhibition of his work, “Art on Art.” Currently on view at Leslie Tonkonow in Chelsea, this show combines the agile playfulness of fluxus, the intellectual crunch of conceptualism, and the punch of pop. Each work contains a morsel of humor or curiosity—a ‘ha’ or ‘aha’ moment, and sometimes both. Comment

Bugging Hillary

After years of tortured searching, I have finally found a use for Western literature. I merely select pieces from the dead-white-men canon and revise them, in a way that we can better understand contemporary politics! Comment

Being the Breadwinner Not Enough

Who cares about the best interest of children when their parents split up? Comment

Avant-garde Storytelling

Being a guard must be one of the most boring jobs in existence. Anaru (Mahendra Perera), one of the main characters in Sri Lankan director Vimukthi Jayasundara’s “The Forsaken Land,” mans a remote outpost with gun in hand. He has little to do but watch and wait. As it turns out, that seems to be his entire country’s fate. Without becoming boring themselves, few films are so attuned to the rhythm of tedium and depression. Comment

A New Voice at SAGE

While an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, he played a critical role in an unprecedented updating of New Jersey public policy that made that state the first to allow joint adoption by gay and lesbian couples. Comment

A Crusading DA and Drug Reform

Rather than focus on the whipping that Congressional Democrats took on the pro-war resolution in Washington, let us go instead upstate to Albany and look at a Democrat who fought back when set upon by the right-wing attack dogs. Comment

7 Days of readings

Recently Noted. Comment

7 Days in cinema

Recently Noted: 4 (CHETYRE) An instant sensation upon its premiere at the 2004 Venice Film Festival, Ilya Khrzhanovsky’s debut feature bagged a Tiger Award in Rotterdam last year and floored ’em […] Comment

7 Days in dance

Volume 5, Number 25 | June 22 - 28, 2006 Comment

Zen Parables And Gunplay

At this point, American theatrical releases of subtitled films are a luxury. Major European directors like Chantal Akerman, Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, and Alain Resnais have seen their recent work come out straight to DVD here. Comment

Wild-eyed Musings

If you weren’t around in the early 1970s, when feminist artists worked to blow the lid off of male hegemony, you need to see Anita Steckel’s current exhibition at Mitchel Algus Gallery. If you were around, this is a chance to revisit early works and catch up with Steckel’s recent wild-eyed musings. Comment

STONEWALL CELEBRATES 20 YEARS

The Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City gathered on the evening of June 1 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its founding as well as two decades since the passage of the gay civil right law in 1986. Many political leaders who supported that landmark piece of city legislation were on hand to help the club celebrate. Pictured here are former Mayor Ed Koch, who signed the bill into law, Chelsea state Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, Dirk McCall, the club’s president; Tom Smith, a past Stonewall president; and Marty Algaze, a past president and the dinner chairman. Mark Thompson, in the background, is the group’s corresponding secretary. Comment

Pride Up and Down the Slope

Even before the sun set over Brooklyn on June 10, gays and lesbians began lining up on Seventh Avenue in Park Slope to view the 10th Annual Brooklyn Pride Parade. The LGBT festival in Prospect Park has been followed each year by the nighttime parade through the heavily gay and lesbian neighborhood. The parade began at Bartel-Pritchard Circle on Prospect Park West at the park’s southwest corner and traveled west on 15th Street to Seventh Avenue, and north to Lincoln Place. Comment

Plaza Sweat

Neil LaBute’s world is not a very happy one. It is a place where people treat each other shamelessly, revel—often unconsciously—in complete self-absorption, and seldom leave any situation better than they found it. His characters are selfish, venal, and creepy in ways that one doesn’t often want to think about. And his plays are usually among the high points of any season in which they appear. Comment

Palmetto Pleasures

Charleston’s yearly Spoleto Festival USA is a heady whirlwind of the arts is a lovely setting, with history, cuisine, and leisure opportunities almost too numerous to explore. And yes, there’s a gay vibe afloat if you look. Comment

New Briefs

A hundred books in the gay and lesbian section of the Chicago Public Library branch in Lakeview were destroyed by an arsonist on June 13, a probable hate crime say local activists though the police are reserving judgment, WBBM Radio reported. There were no injuries. The infamous Nazi book burnings began in 1933 with a bonfire made out of the library of gay leader Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sex Research, a conflagration captured in newsreels. Comment

¡Muevelo!

Downtown Flamenco, Uptown Action Most flamenco-savvy New Yorkers revere Martin Santangelo’s cuadro, Noche Flamenca, whose queen—the diminutive and shattering Soledad Barrio, Santangelo’s […] Comment

More Victims Than Just Kevin

In the wake of international attention focused on the brutal gay-bashing of famed drag queen singer Kevin Aviance in the East Village in the early morning hours on Saturday, the New York Police Department and the city’s Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project have confirmed that at least two other instances of violent assault marred the second weekend of Pride Month. Comment

Marriage At Issue for in Calif.

The way civil rights activist Dolores Huerta remembers it, she was an early endorser of San Francisco gay Assemblyman Mark Leno’s bill to legalize gay marriage in California. “When Mark called me, I said, ‘of course,’” recalled the 77-year-old co-founder of the United Farm Workers this week. Marriage is, Huerta said, “a civil rights issue, a privacy issue, and a human rights issue.” Comment

Maloney Wins Big at Stonewall

With a decisive victory last Thursday evening in the balloting for the endorsement of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, Sean Patrick Maloney, an out gay candidate for state attorney general, completed a successful streak of winning the most highly contested races among the city’s LGBT political organizations. Comment

Pride and Vigilance

The brutal assault on Kevin Aviance, a beloved musical performer and outsized personality in the gay community, in the East Village on Saturday reminds all of us that anti-gay hatred and violence can flare at any time, even in those communities where we typically feel safest. Two other violent assaults against gay men over the weekend—in Astoria—though far less widely noted, further underscore the frightening randomness of this scourge. Comment

Legal Briefs

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Atlanta, upheld the discharge of Palm Beach County, Florida, deputy sheriffs who participated in a group sex party with their wives filmed for distribution on Internet sex sites. The May 26 ruling effectively reversed a decision by an administrative appeals board that had voted 3-2 to reinstate the deputies, who then filed a federal lawsuit when the sheriff refused to do so. Comment

Iraq and the November Elections

A special election in California to fill the seat vacated by convicted Republican U.S. Representative Randy Cunningham has made clear that the Democrats’ fight to regain control of Congress will be a tough one. Comment

Jamaica, New York Style

Just back from Jamaica Style Week where, with representatives of Parsons School of Design, I participated in a seminar in Kingston with fashion designers, who ranged from established lights like Carlton Brown, Nieh-Lis and SIIM to a 15-year-old girl who said she learned how to sew from her grandmother, making patterns from newspaper. I admit to some trepidation going, as one hears a lot about the homophobia that exists there. But I figured with planeloads of fashionistas arriving daily, it was going to be as gay as it gets. Comment

Glick, O’Donnell Win Health Decision-Making Revisions

An end-of-session revision to a state Assembly bill governing medical decision-making for patients too incapacitated to make their own choices has successfully addressed the concerns of some Democrats—including Deborah Glick and Daniel O’Donnell, two out lesbian and gay Manhattanites—about the measure’s impact on the rights of domestic partners and on New York’s commitment to reproductive choice. Comment

Father’s Day Special

Sorry, Mickey fans, for better or worse, we are living in a new age of animation. Gone are the days of Disney serials, trippy ‘70s “Schoolhouse Rock,” and even the iconic toon of the ‘90s, “Beavis and Butthead”—which if you mention to the youth of today produces blank stares. Even loopy adult animation like the programming featured on Cartoon Network and the once incendiary “South Park” are nearly completely integrated and accepted as part of today’s society, forsaken as topics of ire by the Christian right. Comment

Expressionist Graffiti Rift

Pace Wildenstein Gallery presents a solid and satisfying show joining Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) and Jean Michel Basquiat (1960-1988), hoping to show that for a moment in each other’s lives their artistic visions had similar results. It is interesting that it took 20 odd years for someone to put this together. Comment

Confirmed Dead or Wounded

May 25-June 14, 2006 Comment

Cinderella Liberties

James Kudelka set American Ballet Theatre’s premiere of “Cinderella” in the jazz age, reflected in David Boechler’s deco-inspired costumes and sets. The ballet largely satisfies, offering some eye-popping theatrics, Kudelka’s choreography to persuade things along, and Prokofiev’s grand score stitching it all together. Not surprisingly, sadness, hilarity, and romance ensue in this production first performed by the National Ballet of Canada in 2004. Comment

CHRISTINE QUINN CELEBRATES AND IS CELEBRATED

Speaker Christine Quinn packed the City Council chamber Tuesday evening for the LGBT Pride event she co-hosted with Councilwoman Rosie Mendez—“the Council’s other lesbian,” as the newcomer legislator noted. They commemorated the 20th anniversary of the passage of the city’s gay and lesbian rights law that came only after a raucous hearing in that very chamber. Comment

BAILEY HOUSE HONORS AIDS CONTRIBUTIONS

Bailey House, New York’s oldest AIDS housing organization, honored five foundations, corporations, and individuals working to help New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS at its 2006 Key Awards, held on May 18 at the Robert Miller Gallery. The ceremony, which raised $30,000 for Bailey House, recognized Joey B. Pressley, the executive director of the New York AIDS Coalition; the Red Ribbon Foundation; Lilia Garcia-Leyva, head of the MAC Cosmetics AIDS Fund; Reverend David Cockcroft, a former Bailey House board member; and Melanie Simon, who has supported Bailey House for more than a decade through development of partnerships with the vitamin and natural foods industries. Comment

sample

Volume 5, Number 24 | June 15 - 21, 2006 Comment

Act Up, Dance Awake

For viewers who know his work, Neil Greenberg’s dances are immediately recognizable for their wit, their formalist rigor, and the sense they give off that they are about something real and will reward close, sustained attention. He shows the connection between moments, even if they are far apart in the dances; the details of the dance are always contributing toward that end. Comment

Ab Unfab, In A Good Way

Over the last couple of decades, Hollywood has been pillaging comics for content—“Superman,” “Batman,” “X-men.” Heck, they even made “Dick Tracy,” “Popeye,” and “Dennis the Menace.” So it’s about time they tapped the world’s most prolific gay comic strip, “The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green.” Comment

A Baby Red Herring in HIV Debate

Some proponents of ending written consent for HIV testing have cited what they say is the success in reducing mother-to-child HIV transmission that resulted from the so-called baby AIDS bill, a 1997 state law that required the testing of newborns. Comment

7 Days in cinema

Recently Noted: 4 (CHETYRE) An instant sensation upon its premiere at the 2004 Venice Film Festival, Ilya Khrzhanovsky’s debut feature bagged a Tiger Award in Rotterdam last year and floored ’em […] Comment

7 Days and 7 Nights

Broadway Bares Exhibit Comment

7 Days in dance

Volume 5, Number 24 | June 15 - 21, 2006 Comment

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