Wednesday, May 27, 2009

NYC Day of Decision Rally

The cops were surprised by our numbers. Nice turn out.
Learn how to lobby your NY Senator by going here: www.meny.us
And don't forget about Queens this Sunday.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Washington Square Park Face Lift

The fountain was successfully moved and now you can see the water from any point North, East, South, West. The new benches are nice and the ground has been leveled. Good job, NYC.

Action Alert: NYC Day of Decision Rally TODAY

The insiders are saying the CA Supreme Court is going to be split on same-sex Marriage. This means that the Prop 8 initiative will hold but those already married will be able to stay married. Whether it's a yes or no, split decision or not New Yorkers will be rallying at Sheridan Square at 6PM TONIGHT!

Official website: Cities across US


Official website: New York City


Official facebook Page here

Friday, May 22, 2009

Happy Friday: Landslide


Hey Mr. B, this one's for you...

May 21st. 1979: White Night Riots

Some argue if Dan White had just killed Mayor Moscone he would have received a life sentence but since he killed Harvey Milk too, a known and out homosexual and liberal, it seemed to complicate things. The end result was a lenient sentencing. A few years. Less than a decade for killing two innocent people.

This is where the famous and famously absurd Twinkie Defense was born and out of that the angry White Night Riots ignited.


On May 21, 1979, Dan White was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter after his assassination of both Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Milk on November 27, 1978. The prosecutor asked for a finding of first-degree murder with "special circumstances", which would have permitted the death penalty under the terms of a recently-adopted capital punishment law in California, Proposition 7. The "special circumstances" in this case were that Mayor Moscone had been killed in order to block the appointment of someone to fill the City Supervisor seat from which Dan White had resigned, and also that multiple people were killed.

White's sentence was reduced due in part to the so-called Twinkie defense, a verdict that provoked outrage in the community. The so-called “Twinkie” defense was presented by a psychiatrist to the jury, essentially saying that too much refined sugar (the type of sugar found in “junk food”) can cause depression and that White may have acted irrationally as a subsequent result of his eating copious amounts of foods containing refined sugars. The composition of the jury was also considered a factor; composed of mostly working class, predominantly Roman Catholic, heterosexual, and white men and women, just like Dan White. This was the segment of the city who felt sympathy for White. The jury heard a tape recording of White’s confession, which consisted of highly emotional ranting about the pressure he was under, and members of the jury wept in sympathy for the defendant.

Keep fighting.

Fuel gay rage now.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fierce Pussy

Righteous, Babe
I first reported about Fierce Pussy here but to reiterate they are:
a collective comprised of a group of queer women committed to creating public art and performing direct action around issues of lesbian identity and visibility. fierce pussy was composed of a fluid and often-shifting cadre of dykes. Adamantly low-tech, fast and low-budget, fierce pussy relied on modest resources: old typewriters, found photographs, their own baby pictures, and whatever material they could get donated. Much of the work was produced using the equipment at their day jobs. Emerging during a decade steeped in the AIDS crisis, activism, and queer identity politics, fierce pussy brought lesbian identity directly out into the streets in a manner characterized by the urgency of those years.
And so I stopped by Printed Matter, Inc today just to browse and I came across a Fierce Pussy compilation that Printed Matter just published. It was only selling for $15 so I had to get it. I love and salivate over this kind of in your face, tough-street activism/artivism.



Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Between Gigs

I'm currently between gigs and not working for the next few weeks (somebody hire me! Producer? Director? House Painter?) I was going to spend the day blogging but...but:
What's that Skateboard? What's that you say? You want me to ride you? I think I have to - she's looking at me with sad puppy wheels.

Rage.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Alert: Heritage of Pride looking for Volunteers

Heritage of Pride, the organization responsible for putting on NYC's annual LGBT Pride Parade is looking for volunteers for this year's march on Sunday June 28th. This is the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots so now would be a great time to lend a hand and help out. They are looking for volunteers in all aspects from organizing the parade/rally to helping work booths and other events. Go for it. It's a hoot! Tell em KnuckleCrack sent ya.

Go here for the official Heritage of Pride website

And here for the official facebook page

Contrast

The contrast between two marriage rallies yesterday in NYC couldn't have been greater. In the early part of the day I jumped uptown to attend an anti-marriage equality rally organized mostly by a group of Hispanic and Latino church goers who despite their insistence that Jesus loves us feel very strongly that gays do not deserve equal rights.

The number of people defending the gay name and standing up for marriage equality was small if not minute. A smattering of the usual faces with a dab of young lesbians. Small signs and a few banners. We were outnumbered 10,000 to 30. We stood at our barricades, mostly in silence, and held our signs as men and women, old and young, many accompanied by a small child yelled, "One man and one woman!" "Read the bible!" "Jesus loves you!" and "God bless you!" As a Jew, all this Jesus/God bless you stuff is always hard to stomach but when you see first hand the degree to which these people truly dislike you and use God's name to defend their twisted logic it leaves the feeling of a sucker punch to the soul. Their "God bless you" and "Jesus loves you!" reeked of being inauthentic and that was later proved when the sound of their mass applause carried up several blocks into our ears. It sounded like an army preparing for a battle. Combative, charged and ghastly. It's been a long time since I felt that kind of hate. It was ugly and simple in it's color. Black and white. The people rejoicing in their efforts to keep gays as second class citizens were bleak and boring, scared and traditional. Old world. They showed nothing but commitment to keeping this world as colorless and dry as possible. As I write this I'm still trying to shake the shiver of hearing their roaring applause traveling upwind. It was clear sooner than later that this was an anti gay rally and had little to do with marriage.

But the protest ended and those of us remaining shook hands and went our separate ways until the pro-marriage rally later in the day. Weighed down by what I just experienced I was craving a distraction. Some reminder that despite the mass of people I just witnessed that there are people who love us, who care for us and would like to see us equal. I ran into Elmo in Time's Square and he helped cheer me up. We both thanked Governor Paterson for supporting marriage equality and a smile returned to my face.

At 5PM at 45th St. and 6th Ave. a mass of young and old, gay and straight, white, Black, Asian, Latino, Everything gathered in celebration of equal rights and marriage. Immediately the crowd was everything the morning crowd wasn't. We were full of life, optimism and energy. Color flowed out from everyone as did hugs and handshakes, smiles and "how are ya's." Our signs were smart and creative. This is when everything started to feel a lot better because I was reminded what gay is and why we're fighting for equal rights. Because we matter. Because our color and contribution to this country, to this world, matters and I'll be damned if the color we bring to the fabric of humanity goes unnoticed and remains unequal. While the morning's anti-marriage rally featured men in suits and black clothing ours featured vibrancy and singing and the perfect combination of comedy and anger. It was all a very nice moment and to have our Governor and Mayor speak to us, in support of us, gave a certain validation that things are going to change. Those people at the morning's rally will be on the losing end of this fight. We aren't going anywhere any time soon and I know we will keep rallying, keep screaming and keep bringing color to this world until our voices are heard and our lives and families appreciated.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Friday: Zombie Love!

You leave me so hungry!
My fascination with horror films began early on. My father, a horror enthusiast himself, would take me along to the midnight screenings of horror flicks when I was just a wee lad. My first in-theater horror film was Nightmare on Elm St. 4 (I love you Alice!) when I was just 7 or 8 years old. But even before actually going to the movies we would have family screenings of C.H.U.D. and The Fly at home. C.H.U.D. (Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers) is your run of the mill classic B Grade horror film. But after seeing it that night I was afraid to go to bed and although the film takes place in NYC my father lied to me and said that CHUDS actually live in Mississippi and pulled out a map of America to show me how far Mississippi was from New Jersey and that it would be impossible for them to ever get me. To this day whenever I hear of Mississippi I think of C.H.U.D.

Since SAW and Hostel I feel Hollywood has really fucked with the horror genre. SAW and Hostel aren't horror films. They are torture/Gore films and completely lack the classic conventions of traditional horror films. Since then horror films have been a mess and I've put my foot down and now am only focusing on one genre: Zombies!

I don't know what it is about the living dead that I love so much but I can't get enough of it. Maybe it's the fact that you can't hurt or scare a zombie or the fact that zombies are nothing but the undead savagely hunting for your braaaaaains or maybe it's all just a coping mechanism for living in New York City in the age of doom and terrorism but whatever it is - if there is a book or a movie about Zombies I'm into it.

Recently I just saw Quarantine which I didn't have high hopes for but ended up loving! It's a classic zombie flick! A female lead, a group of people trapped and one by one they all die or worse, become the living dead themselves. If you haven't seen Quarantine and are a fan of Zombies I strongly suggest you check it out.

Other Zombie and Zombie/Apocalyptic things you may want to check out are:

Films:
28 Days Later (technically the victims are infected with "rage" but employs classic zombie convention)
The Hills have Eyes (more monsters than zombie)
The Descent (best horror film in a decade!!)
Night of the Creeps (classic horror/humor!!)

Books:
World War Z (the above-all-else quintessential best Zombie book ever written)
I am Legend (more vampirey/monster but totally apocalyptic)
Patient Zero (current book I'm reading- Love it!)
The Road (The reader doesn't really know what is chasing this father/son duo but fantastic apocalyptic powerhouse)
Blindness (no monsters or zombies but very end of the world)
The Dresden Files (on going zombie series)

If I'm forgetting anything let me know...


Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Blogfather

"Don Corleone, I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your home..."
I suppose it was around March of 2007 when I was working in a Midtown East post-production house supervising edits of promos and googling my day away when I clicked a link and stumbled upon Joe.My.God.

I was originally looking for Michael Fierman music but what I suddenly found was this whole online discussion from men who through their blogs were discussing and meeting and caring and giving a shit and not a giving a shit and seemingly having a great time doing it all. I was hooked!

I had been searching for this community for a long time. Where were the activists? The voices of our time? Where was the whole big gay discussion going on? And here it was like a treasure chest beneath the sand.

This isn't to say that Joe.My.God is the gay blogging community. He's not, by far, and I realize that there is a vast spectrum of LGBT blogs who represent all the colors of the blah blah blah.... but he was my first! He popped my blogging one and zero and through following him I realized that the activism and conversation, the yearning and caring and need, the community gathering it was all still happening. It never disappeared and in it's own way seemed to be just beginning.

Now two years later I'm sure of that...

Last night Wayne and I went to hear Joe speak at The Center on the topic of "Queering the Blogosphere." Joe and Bradford (founder of Queerty) and Oriol from Poz and Erin Mulrooney a, Research and Planning Associate at NYC’s LGBT Center sat around and talked about how they got involved in blogging and what their experience has been like and the role gay blogging plays in today's community.

During the discussion somebody used the word "pedestrian" to make a case about facebook. Actually the person was saying that she felt Facebook was too pedestrian now that everyone feels like they have a voice or thinks they're funny or has the next best thing but it dawned on me that in the end it's that "pedestrianness" which might be the catalyst that dissolves closet doors all over this country.

We're all walking on a digital highway these days. Make no bones about it. If you're on facebook or read blogs or simply sign in you're getting a feed to everything, what everyone is doing- now. Facebook and blogs especially. Signing in is lacing up your shows and being in is walking down the sidewalk with everyone in that community. No longer does that isolated person in North Dakota not see ("on the street") a gay person. It's inevitable. Personal collisions are almost unavoidable these days, even if it is online. If you want to seek something or someone out you can and will and even if you don't want to seek something or someone out you can and will!

The chances that we collide and see one another "on the street" is becoming greater and greater and soon, if not already, we'll be able to gather in moments. At the drop of a hat. On the hit of publish. Sooner, not later, we'll be unstoppable.

The future is literally ours - we're making it right now.

In the 1980's ACT UP used phone trees to call members and friends about the where and when of their latest action. In a few day's time they would be able to assemble 500 or a 1000 people at most. Now, using the Prop 8 Protests as an example, which could be considered the first massive digitally organized protest rally in history, we know that with the right push we can organize 10's of thousands of people in a few days if not a few hours.

It was the afternoon of Saturday Nov. 8th when Corey Johnson alerted me to the Facebook Event Page for the NYC Prop 8 rally. When I clicked "attending" the numbers were still in the double digits. Then the bloggers got the word out and by the time I went to bed that night there were 300 people attending. The next day the facebook status updates began - by Wednesday night we had 12,000 people (young, older, male, female, black, white, Asian, Latin, straight) marching from Lincoln Square to Columbus Circle.

Think about the iPod for a moment. It began as a hunky, clunky heavy iPod and went to an all encompassing, everything in your hand iPhone in what - Six? Seven years? Now apply that rate of growth, that speed in technology, that change of culture to blogging, social network sites and what this means for the gay community. It's only now that we seem to be uncovering the hugeness of what this all is.

The playing field has completely changed. We're limitless and it's only just the beginning. We're here and we're in numbers and we're not going to be silenced nor ask for your permission any longer.

And by the way, there's a rally this Sunday.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Saturday's Jump


Still a little rusty with catching the rhythm but getting better.  The second attempt is much better.  This is becoming a heavy addiction of mine.  Once you get it, you just can't stop!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sex +

Quad Cinema - NYC, NY 6/12/09
Unfortunately I can't embed the trailer because the option has been disabled but here's the link to the official trailer.

Here's the official Website

And here's a little synopsis and comment from Richard Berkowitz:

SEX POSITIVE explores the life of Richard Berkowitz, a revolutionary gay S&M- hustler-turned-AIDS activist in the 1980s, whose incomparable contribution to the invention of safe sex has never been aptly credited. Berkowitz emerged from the epicenter of the epidemic as a community leader, demanding a solution to the problem before anyone else would pay attention. However, it was not Berkowitz' voice alone that sparked contention.

Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, a controversial virologist and AIDS doctor, postulated that AIDS was more complicated than just a new virus. With Sonnabend's theory in tow, Berkowitz fought, alongside beloved activist and musician Michael Callen, for safer sex practices without giving up on sex altogether.

SEX POSITIVE explores the explicit bravery of this unrecognized triumvirate, and their dire quest to save lives in the midst of unwavering dissent. Now destitute and alone, Mr. Berkowitz tells his story to a world who never wanted to listen.

Through the eyes of Mr. Berkowitz, the audience is made witness to a graphic testimony of sex, death, and betrayal, while placing the invention of ‘safe sex’ in a fresh and compelling context.

From Berkowitz:
I always hoped that my book Stayin' Alive: The Invention of Safe Sex would spark interest in a new generation--I just never expected it would come from a young guy who happens to be straight.

The Bush years have been a trying time for many Americans, but for those concerned with HIV prevention, it has been a disaster. Ever since George W. Bush took office in 2001 and replaced safe sex education with abstinence programs, HIV infection rates have climbed as reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Unfortunately, the past two years, 2005 and 2006 have been the worst. If anything good can come out of this tragedy, it would be that we now have ample evidence that abstinence programs do not work.

The media has barely taken notice, and I'm hoping that SEX POSITIVE will sound the alarm. If the media needs a hook, here's a great one: May 2008 marks the 25th anniversary of the invention of safe sex.

Unfortunately, these aren’t good times for those involved in safe sex education. It doesn’t bode well that even though everyone has heard of safe sex, hardly anyone knows where it came from. Safe sex came from activists, porn stars, sex workers and their community driven efforts. That's what we've lost over the years and that's why I'm hoping people will learn from this very timely film.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

YOU'RE Hurting People


Mike: "We name Charlie Christ for example..."
News Guy: "By doing that what do you do to Charlie Christ's family....? You're hurting people..."

Does this guy not think that the actions of people like Larry Craig, Mark Foley, Bob Allen, Ted Haggard, Charlie Christ doesn't hurt us? That we as gay people know that our would-be brothers are fighting tooth and nail to silence us? Are we supposed to sit back and be complacent as our names, our community and our lifestyles are dragged through the mud due to these politicians dirty, lying infidently and self hatred? And, we're hurting their family?!

What about my mother fucking family, asshole? What about my friends? My feelings? My place in the world? I should care about their families? Give me a fucking break!

The News Caster can't even have a conversation with Rogers without threatening to take him outside and punch him in the face. It's too bad I wasn't on that show because I would have LOVED to have taken this matter outside - show the world who the real fucking men are.

Fuel.the.rage.

Here are some pics detailing my immedate reaction to the Larry Craig scandal some years ago:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dan Savage: How many Partners is too Many?


This is a conversation Eric the roommate and I find ourselves having quite often (he's straight, btw's.) However, it always boils down to what do we define as "sex."
For the straight world (most straights I talk to tend to agree,) sex is going all the way; while for me, sex is any form of getting off from light stuff to the whole enchilada. I suppose there is no answer, like Savage points out. But I do feel as though the difference between a healthy amount of partners and an unhealthy amount all comes down to the way you feel about yourself, your partner and how the choices you made make you feel in the end.

Thoughts?

Meeting Alert: Last NYC Meetings before Prop 8 Decision

NYC LGBT Center
Tonight May 6th
Tonight NYC's LGBT Center is holding the final meetings for Marriage Equality NY and The Civil Rights Front before the California Prop 8 decision is announced.  

From the organizers:
Both Marriage Equality New York and Civil Rights Front will be having their
monthly meetings tomorrow at the LGBT Center. MENY is at 6:30pm, CRF at 7:30pm.
These may be the last meetings before the Prop 8 decision is issued, so I'd
strongly urge you to attend one or both.

Both meetings will also talk about the counterdemonstration that's being planned
against the National Organization for Marrige (Sunday, May 17, 1pm, 3rd Ave & 40t St).

Finally, if you're been reading the headlines, you know that the marriage bills
in Maine and New Hampshire are chugging along, and we should soon know the
outcome of both (Maine possibly this week, and New Hampshire probably by the end
of the month).

So, again, try to attend the MENY/CRF meetings because this will be a busy month
for protests.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Kramer Vs. Kramer

I ain't no queer
According to GayCityNews one of my favorite middle fingers in the gay community, Larry Kramer, spoke at his alma mater, Yale, for failing to secure the course of Gay History at the Ivy League school.  Kramer also didn't hold back on venting his feelings about how the course study of "gender studies" and "queer theory" are not gay history.  He also threw in his two cents about the word "queer" itself and his belief that the usage of the word is deleterious to the gay community as a whole.
At Yale's Gay and Lesbian Association to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, Larry Kramer apologized to the group for failing to secure a program to teach gay history at his Ivy League alma mater. The Larry Kramer Institute, funded with a $1 million contribution from his late brother, Arthur, in 2001, was closed by Yale in 2006. "When this happened, I thought my heart would break," he said. 
Kramer also lamented Yale's dismissal of gay historian Jonathan Ned Katz from the faculty, the suppression of information about the homosexuality of Yale's first benefactor, John William Sterling, and the university press' refusal to publish C.A. Tripp's "Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln" dealing with the 16th president's homosexuality. He also expressed dismay at how the Institute mainly taught "gender studies, queer studies, [and] queer theory," not gay history as he intended. "I would like to proclaim with great pride: I am not queer! And neither are you," he said. "When will we stop using this adolescent and demeaning word to identify ourselves? Like our history that is not taught, using this word will continue to guarantee that we are not taken seriously in the world."
 
I've never really supported the word "queer" myself.  I always identify as gay and have never had a problem with it.  Now I understand that "gay" is a very specific label while "queer" is rather open to an interpretation of sorts but I've always felt that queer was a word that we "reclaimed," so to speak, to fill ourselves with pride.  But queer is so rainbowy and too kumbaya for me.  

The youth seemed to have run with this word and if that continues than so be it.  More power to 'em and I'll support them.  But I do hear quite clearly what Kramer is saying: "Queer" is silly, it's court jester - what are we to expect from that? I prefer the hard hitting, guttural three letter G-A-Y.  That's where my pride comes from.

I also support Kramer's deciphering the difference between Queer Theory and Gender Studies and Gay History.  The two aren't the same.  Gay History is much like American History or any other history.  It's factual records of time.  Our place on the time scale.  Queer Theory and Gender studies, while they may incorporate aspects of history, is a vague term that seems to tip-toe around the idea of our place and importance on the time scale.  On one hand you have Gay History (simple enough, huh?) on the other Queer Theory (hmmm...wha?)  

Now I'm not trying to diminish or play down the importance of course work along the lines of Queer Theory.  Certainly it has it's place and I'm sure if I were to look over a syllabus I'd probably think it was very interesting.  Still it doesn't seem to encompass the simplicity of factual gay history and the course isn't even called "Gay History."  If I were signing up for courses I would be much more inspired by "Gay History" than "Queer Theory" although I'd probably sign up for both.

It's always been a pipe dream of mine that if/when I ever get out of the TV industry I'd go back to Grad School and study to become a professor in Gay History and Comparative Literature. What I'd hope to do is teach my students actual gay history (which seems to have been the goal of Kramer) and have them read fiction-based literature published within the contexts of that time to match the historic facts with the cultural consciousness of the surrounding event.

Now that I'm wrapping on my umpteenth TV gig and hearing Kramer's disappointment that idea seems that much more appealing.

Go here for Kramer's full speech: http://tinyurl.com/beast-larry

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Documentary: Outrage

Intriguing...


You might notice some other blog faces in there such as Mike Rogers and Michaelangelo Signorile