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:
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.

Monday, May 18, 2009


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.

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.