Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
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
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.
Fuel gay rage now.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
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
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.
Monday, May 18, 2009
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
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
Thursday, May 14, 2009
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
Monday, May 11, 2009
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.
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
Here are some pics detailing my immedate reaction to the Larry Craig scandal some years ago:
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
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
Monday, May 4, 2009
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."