Snubbed by NYC Pols, HRC Answers Its Critics

Faced with a boisterous picket line that drew a crowd of more than 50 and with the absence of every lesbian, gay, and bisexual elected official from New York City -- indeed, every other prominent city Democrat as well -- Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, used his keynote address at the group's annual Midtown Manhattan dinner to answer critics who fault it for going along with a version of the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that does not include protections for transgendered Americans. Comment

Winter Homebound Antidotes

With the weather still unreliable, what better way to hibernate than snuggling indoors with a good book. I got a plethora of them over the holidays, most of which dealt in some way with my favorite decade, the 1930s- an era with plenty of political and economic turmoil, but which certainly delivered the goods in other ways. With Hollywood's star system turning out classics, composers like Cole Porter and the Gershwins creating the Great American Songbook, a fervently alive Broadway, Deco architecture, superbly streamlined women's fashions that continue to inspire designers today, the best cars and luxury liners, it was an era of unsurpassed elegance and creativity. Comment


Pandering is nothing new in the theater. In fact, "Give 'em what they want" is one of the unofficial mottoes of showbiz. That's all very well when expressed in an excess of dancing girls or chorus boys, but when it comes to political theater, or theater of ideas, one must tread more carefully. Comment

Leaps of Faith

In "Grace," the acclaimed London import now making its US premiere at the Lucille Lortel Theater, religion is a prickly conundrum. And playwrights Mick Gordon and AC Grayling underscore this point straightaway by naming the main character, an ardent atheist and natural science professor, Grace, which, among its myriad definitions, means "touched by God." Comment
Kelly Jean Cogswell

Change, Schmange

There's only one Trojan horse each generation and I more or less missed it, like the 10:58 train to Poughkeepsie. Probably you did, too. Or you rode it awhile and got bucked off, or somebody shot it out from underneath you. Or the hidden door popped open to your surprise and glee, but nothing came out, because wishes aren't horses and there's hardly ever a pivotal moment in history where one event or one person tips the balance of things in the space of somebody's afternoon nap. Comment
Nathan Riley

Facing Up to Youth Sexuality Is Critica

It could have happened here. The killing of a junior high school student in Oxnard, California took place in liberal Southern California in a school with anti-bullying programs and counselors. Comment

Heroic Tenor

The wonderful final performance of "Die Walkuere" on February 9 proved the theory that the most important factor in operatic performance is the conductor. The work was prepared and led for five strong but -- on the live evidence of the second show and from broadcast snippets -- rather odd performances by Lorin Maazel. Comment

Queer youth advocacy group signs on to Houston Street pier plan

A grassroots advocacy group for queer youth has added its voice to a swelling chorus of support for the community-based Pier 40 Partnership proposal for the redevelopment of the Hudson River pier located at Houston Street. Comment

Poet and Go-To Guy

A few weeks ago, an organization dedicated to encouraging financial support for the queer community released a groundbreaking report on the work done by LGBT people of color institutions, how they see their efforts, and how they survive. Comment

Helping fund queer people of color groups, musing on superheroes

A few weeks ago, an organization dedicated to encouraging financial support for the queer community released a groundbreaking report on the work done by LGBT people of color institutions, how they see their efforts, and how they survive. Comment

Conceding Civil Union Failures, Jersey Guv's Main Worry Is Electing Dem Prez

BY PAUL SCHINDLER "Hoboken, we have a problem." That was Steven Goldstein's capsule summary of the first interim report released February 19 by the New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission. Goldstein, the executive director of Garden State Equality (GSE), New Jersey's LGBT civil rights lobby, is vice chairman of the Commission, established to monitor whether civil unions are effective in delivering same-sex couples all the benefits and responsibilities of marriage under state law. Comment

City Folds Gay Health Office

Drawing criticism from gay and AIDS groups, the city health department has eliminated its Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health, multiple current and former department staff confirmed. Comment

Court Greased For Sex Toys

The Houston-based US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on February 12 that a Texas statute, making it a crime to distribute sex toys in that state, violates the federal Constitution. Relying heavily on the Supreme Court's 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, striking down that state's anti-gay sodomy law, the court stated specific disagreement with contrary rulings by the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld a similar Alabama law. Comment

TA Worker Has Bias Liability

A state Supreme Court justice in Brooklyn ruled on February 13 that the city's ban on gender identity discrimination is binding on the New York City Transit Authority. Justice Robert J. Miller rejected a contrary ruling by another Brooklyn state trial judge in denying an attempt by a NYCTA employee to have a transgendered customer's harassment suit thrown out of court. Comment

Masochism Changes Things

During his stay in the US, German director Max Ophuls wanted to film Honoré de Balzac's novella "The Duchess of Langeais" with Greta Garbo and James Mason, but he was never able to make it. Jacques Rivette's cruel melodrama gives some idea what that film might have been like. His version of the story seems utterly consistent with his long-term concerns, yet at 79, he's still breaking new ground. Comment
From the Editor

Bullying Efforts As Urgent As Ever

As Andy Humm's reporting on last week's tragic shooting death of a gender-variant, gay 15-year-old in a Southern California school makes clear, political leaders and education officials have considerable unfinished business when it comes to protecting LGBT youth, and others stigmatized by hatred, prejudice, and ridicule. Comment


Despite empty seats at every performance of Yanira Castro + Company at Dance Theater Workshop, it'll be standing room only for her new evening-length work. A dance installation with an immersive visual and sound environment, "Center of Sleep" features a collapsible, mobile set, with mini-stages that open out and close again. There is no seating, and the audience will have to choose where to stand, when to move, and what, if anything, to do. Comment

Trisha Brown Takes a Bow

Trisha Brown, a founding member of the Judson Dance Theater, helped invent post-modern dancing -- where fluent, energetically ravishing motion replaces the modern dance notion of creatively designed postures. In Brown's lubricated kinetic poetry, bodies let gravity impel them in ways that often look accidental because of the dancers' seemingly casual attack and the physical inevitability of the movement, even though it is carefully calibrated and precisely choreographed. Comment


Despite empty seats at every performance of Yanira Castro + Company at Dance Theater Workshop, it'll be standing room only for her new evening-length work. Comment

The Success and Limits of Harm Reduction

Research presentations by AIDS epidemiologists and medical doctors offer ample understanding of the impact of harm reduction in preventing or slowing the spread of HIV. When it comes to preventing the virus' transmission, the two biggest harm reduction innovations have been needle exchange and safer sex approaches conceptualized and implemented in the US in the mid-to late 1980s. Comment

Senegal Gay Marriage Panic

In the West African nation of Senegal, a former French colony which is 95 percent Muslim, the arrests over the weekend of February 2-3 of nine men and one woman whose photos appeared in a hostile magazine report about a gay marriage ceremony has unleashed a wave of media hysteria and calls for an aggressive campaign against homosexuals by the country's Islamic religious leaders. Comment

Health Department Noncommital on Bathhouses

After meeting with senior city health department officials, gay and AIDS groups are saying that the agency appears to be open to regulating sex clubs and bathhouses and has not decided to shut those businesses down. Comment

Next: Madame Mayor?

"I want every New Yorker to hear me when I say: We are ready." Comment

Anger Over Black HIV Efforts

Gay and AIDS groups are expressing growing frustration with New York City's response to HIV in communities of color, a population that has been disproportionately affected by the AIDS epidemic. Comment

Gloomy and Profound

Quiet desperation pulses in the magnificent revival of "Come Back, Little Sheba," now at Manhattan Theatre Club. The play is often considered a mid-20th-century chestnut - remembered mostly for Shirley Booth's portrayal of Lola. Though potentially stilted and slow to a contemporary audience, "Little Sheba" is nonetheless a heartbreaking and powerful work of theater that elevates it beyond a simple period piece. Playwright William Inge didn't shy away from the difficulty of life. He gave us a naturalistic portrait of people doing the best they can. Comment
Guest Perspective OPINION

Seeing Dead People

Unlike the Anglo media in the United States where every corpse has a shroud over it, French TV shows violence more or less uncensored. When people are killing each other in Iraq or Chad or the Sudan, or New Orleans, for that matter, we know what it looks like. Comment
Guest Perspective

Don't Let McCain Hide His True Colors

The LGBT community has a particular gift it can give America this election season-exposing John McCain as anything other than the moderate he will endeavor to run as in the general election in November. Comment
Guest Perspective

Gender Identity, Expression Protections Overdue in NYS

The legislative session is now under way in Albany and our community has a number of priorities where your personal involvement can be crucial to making progress. One issue in particular is the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) - and getting movement on it in the State Legislature this year - so that we can end discrimination against transgender people. Comment

Problematic Puccini

Even though Puccini's first successful opera is called "Manon Lescaut," the eponymous party girl is not the real protagonist of the work. By far a more interesting character-and the recipient of Puccini's most grateful music - is her lover Des Grieux. Comment

For Florent, Au Revoir?

Florent Morellet, a founder of the group whose efforts led to the 2003 designation of the Gansevoort Market Historic District, has been operating the restaurant bearing his name in the district's heart for the past 23 years. Comment
Guest Perspective

Pillow Balk

The last time Pajarito and I went out dancing on a Saturday night, the DJ spun an extended remix of "No One" by Alicia Keys. We were at the Ritz, a Hell's Kitchen bar with no dedicated dance floor, so everyone pushed the low tables aside and grooved to the soulful song of romantic endurance. Comment

New Mexico State of Mind

Space, color and light merge in little-known works by Richard Diebenkorn, created between 1950 and 1952 as a graduate student at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. This handsome group of 40 paintings, drawings, and gouaches show Diebenkorn finding his way with a freedom and lightness of touch. Warm colors and translucent layers of paint echo the effects of light and air in the surrounding New Mexico landscape. Comment

Truths and Consequences

The first decade of this young, nervous century may be remembered as, among other things, the documentary decade. After a couple of recent "expanded" editions, it seems only inevitable that "Documentary Fortnight," MoMA's annual nonfiction sampling, would by a kind of meiosis now be flanked fore and aft by two other doc assortments, together billed as "Doc Month." It's raining docs. Comment

Extreme Aesthetic

It's hard to make generalizations about a program as broad as the 2008 lineup of "Film Comment Selects," which ranges from zombie movies to experimental documentaries. As I noted last year, the series is far more open to provocation and potential controversy than its big brother, the New York Film Festival. Comment

Capital Collection

City Dance, a 12-year-old repertory company from Washington, DC, made its New York debut at Joyce SoHo, February 1-3, with a program of eight dances by nine choreographers. Note to artistic director -- programming so many works by different choreographers, even brief ones, in a single evening does disservice to the choreography. An audience can't really absorb so many artistic points of view in one sitting, so their attention turns instead to the versatility of the dancers. Comment

Super Nova

The availability of new media technology has been reshaping live dance and performance for more than a generation now. Video, in particular, and digital technologies such as motion capture and 3D animation are increasingly integrated into a genre primarily focused on the living body. With few notable exceptions, this integration has fallen short, with the flesh being overwhelmed by the electronic signal - without intention. Comment


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