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Going Home Again

Don’t let the gentle, elegiac tone or simple straightforwardness of Horton Foote’s “The Orphan’s Home Cycle” fool you. This is a rich, complex, distinctly American piece of literature that illuminates all manner of human feeling and interaction, but with an economy and lyricism that often take your breath away, and leave you on the edge of your seat — and the edge of tears. Comment

Broken Mold Mountain

If veteran documentarian Frederick Wiseman ever made a Western, I’m sure it would resemble “Sweetgrass.” In many respects, the film hews to the rules established by ’60s cinema verité. In fact, it goes further than many films from that period by throwing the spectator into an alien world without explaining any context. Lucien Castaing-Taylor eschews voice-over and interviews with his subjects. Apart from two intertitles that close the film, he also shies away from on-screen text. Comment

Rediscovering S.N. Behrman

“Project Runway” veteran Chris March celebrated the publication of his book “I Heart Chris March” at Greenhouse (January 24). It was a fun party which segued into Suzanne Bartsch’s soiree that brought out those tireless drags, twinks, and club vets, sparked by Dan Fortune’s classy DJ stylings, which were lively and actually enhanced conversation. Comment

No Beginning, No End

The outstanding film “Ajami” is named after the multi-ethnic neighborhood in Tel Aviv’s Jaffa port district where this drama unfolds in five overlapping chapters. Co-directed by Palestinian Scandar Copti and Israeli Yaron Shani — at times in almost documentary fashion — the film addresses issues of family, crime, violence, forbidden love, and more as it catapults viewers into an intense urban war zone. Comment

Meeting the Family

The remarkable documentary “October Country,” co-directed by Donal Mosher and his life partner Michael Palmieri, chronicles a year in the lives of Mosher’s family, capturing some very intense moments as they eke out working-class existences while wrestling with personal demons. Comment

Running Deep

Easily the best news of the theater season to date is the just-announced extension of “The Orphan’s Home Cycle” to May 8 at the Signature. Stop reading now, and go order tickets. We’ll wait. Comment

Capturing Tragedy

During the throes of the Haiti earthquake aftermath last month, intrepid CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper made news himself when he broke from his reporter role to rescue a boy gravely injured by a concrete block. While it made for gripping television, the altruistic act re-ignited a decades-old dilemma — in times of trouble when lives are in jeopardy, should journalists jettison objectivity to save their subjects? Comment

Verdian Ventures

When new in the spring of 1994, the handsome Met production of “Stiffelio” had two major musical assets that the interesting but uneven score needs — a fine conductor, James Levine, and a persuasive spinto tenor, Placido Domingo. Comment

With and Without Father

Sam Mendes’ Bridge Project set an almost impossibly high standard in its premier season last year — with transcendent productions of “A Winter’s Tale” and “The Cherry Orchard” at Brooklyn’s BAM and in London at the Old Vic featuring transatlantic casts led by Simon Russell Beale, Rebecca Hall, and Ethan Hawke. Comment

A Grandmother’s Secret

When Jackson Taylor was growing up, his grandmother played a pivotal role in his life. He sought her advice, and she welcomed his questions with an uncommon ability to answer them clearly and directly. He looked forward to her weekly visits to his Virginia home, where she brought an oddly colorful and glamorous presence to a comparatively black and white backdrop. Then, he knew her only as a private nurse who lived on a farm, even though she didn’t act or look like one. She remained an enigmatic figure during most of that time. Comment

One Bright, Shining Moment

At the end of the first decade of the AIDS epidemic, in a 1989 essay in October, the avant-garde quarterly he edited, noted gay intellectual and activist Douglas Crimp recalled what a younger gay man in ACT UP had said to him after seeing an early ’70s gay erotic film. Comment

Fascinating Rhythm

"Ragtime” is a show about how the world changes and how, for the short time we are here, we either change with it, are changed by it, or are destroyed in the process. Comment

Sex-Reassignment Expenses Deductible

Voting 11-5, the United States Tax Court ruled on February 3 that Rhiannon G. O’Donnabhain may claim a medical expense deduction on her 2001 federal income tax returns for some of the costs of her sex-reassignment surgery. Comment

NY Bias Laws’ Long Reach

US District Judge Peter K. Leisure, changing his tune from a previous decision, has concluded that a non-resident of New York employed mainly outside the state can contest his discriminatory discharge under the human rights laws of New York State and New York City, where the employer, headquartered here, made the allegedly discriminatory termination decision. Comment

Lunar New Year Parade Welcomes Gays

In a January 30 press conference in Chinatown’s Chatham Square, a group of LGBT Asian Americans and their allies announced that for the first time in its eleven-year history, New York’s Lunar New Year Parade will include an openly LGBT contingent. Comment

Super Bowl Ad Nix Spurs Anger

While a gay dating website that was barred by CBS from running an ad during the Super Bowl may have grounds to charge it was discriminated against, the site’s parent company has a track record of operating provocative websites and seeking out press coverage to promote them. Comment

Bias Perp Nabbed in UK

The man allegedly responsible for hurling anti-gay slurs and assaulting a trio of gay men in Hell’s Kitchen has been identified and charged in the September attack. Comment

Marriage Advocates At Odds On Marriage Push

In the wake of Alan Van Capelle’s resignation as executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA), the group’s announcement that it will not hold its annual Equality & Justice May lobbying day in Albany has angered leaders of Marriage Equality New York (MENY), the grassroots group that was the earliest fighter on the issue in the state, who feel ESPA has undercut their own plans to travel to the Capitol on February 23. Comment

Van Capelle Departs ESPA, Joins Liu Comptroller Team

In a move that took many LGBT activists by surprise, Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda (ESPA) since 2003, announced he is leaving the organization at the end of February to join the new city comptroller, John Liu, as his deputy for external affairs. Comment

The Slow-Walk Could Sidetrack Don’t Ask Repeal

As former President Bill Clinton tells it in “My Life,” his autobiography, he was presented with a losing issue on gays in the military within days of taking office in 1993. The public, the military, and Congress overwhelmingly opposed the promise Clinton made during his 1992 campaign to lift the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military. Comment

AIDS Protesters Block Gracie Mansion Entrance

As New York observed the 22nd annual World AIDS Day, hundreds of advocates turned out at Gracie Mansion to hear Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his new health commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, present a guardedly optimistic assessment of progress in battling the epidemic. Comment

The Incumbent’s Pick For DA

“I have an ear for innocence,” Cyrus Vance, Jr., said as he discussed what distinguished him from his two Democratic rivals in the September 15 primary for Manhattan district attorney. Comment

The Agenda Drives John Liu

“I see shareholder activism as one of the fundamental roles of the comptroller’s office,” said John Liu, responding to a question about New York City’s leadership role, dating back nearly two decades, in pressing corporations in which its pension funds have stock holdings toward workplace fairness for LGBT employees. Comment

No Cameras at Prop 8 Trial

The Supreme Court, by a 5-4 margin on January 13, voted to make permanent Justice Anthony Kennedy’s temporary injunction two days earlier barring the televising of proceedings in the federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a 2008 voter initiative in California that bans marriage by same-sex couples. Comment


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