Friday, June 29, 2007

Photography Shows at the LGBT Center

Pride Gone By

Among the photos on display at the LGBT Community Center are Suzanne Poli's "Color street scene, 1978," and Santiago Infantino's "Pony."

The View From My Window
Suzanne Poli

Santiago Infantino
The LGBT Community Center
208 W. 13th St.
Through Aug. 17
Two new photography shows at the LGBT Community Center present examinations of history and identity. "The View From My Window" is comprised of shots of the Gay Pride Parade Suzanne Poli snapped from the window of her Christopher Street apartment from 1970 through 1984. "Primero" is comprised of multi-media pieces by Argentine photographer Santiago Infantino, re-fashioning himself as a gay superhero in various guises.

Piro moved into her apartment in 1967 during the Summer of Love. A few years later, in 1969 on a hot night in late June, she heard the ruckus that would come to be known as the Stonewall Riots. The next year, when a commemorative protest paraded past her building, she leaned out to document the event, as she would do for the next three decades."I was working at the Greenwich House Settlement at the time and very passionate about rights and freedoms," said Poli. "It was nothing to me to pick up the camera and start shooting."

The 45 pictures in the show at the Center are from the thousands that Poli took over the years- of revelers, protesters, drag queens including Coco LaChine, activists such Marsha Johnson, and community leaders like the Center's own executive director, Richard Burns."My husband called Richard one day and explained that I had a collection of photos. He was immediately interested," and recognized their historic value, said Poli. It wasn't until later that they realized he was included in some of the pictures.

Poli's Yoshika camera became a tool for documenting the space between the passions and courage of individuals and mass movements that would revolutionize sexual politics in the years before the AIDS crisis."When I picked up the camera, I felt like I was fighting, too," Poli explained. "It made me feel good." Since then, in collaboration with her husband and with the support of J. P. Morgan Chase, she has documented life in various New York City neighborhoods in shows that have been placed in the bank's branches to showcase commitment to community relations.

Reflecting on the changes in the parade and gay rights over the years, Poli said of the images in her pictures, "It's so different than the Christopher Street of now. It's still a celebration and a party, but you can't forget the hardship that came before."

Gay identity is explored in a more personal way by Santiago Infantino. Since coming to New York from Argentina seven years ago, the artist, now based in Brooklyn, has created work in the tradition of photographers like Cindy Sherman, placing himself in idealized and romantic pictures he called "visions.""I have the power to show my soul," he said, "and I think that's not common in the art world."His pictures show himself in various settings - the artistic process is one that he sees as "creating the latest superhero."
Heavily influenced by both his Catholic faith and a fascination with pop culture and comic books, he may appear as a saint, a marine, a composite representation of Marilyn Monroe, or a hustling gay icon."I'm not like Tobey Maguire in 'Spiderman,'" said Infantino, meaning not a superhero created by an army of technicians and special effects magicians. "I have the power to transform myself, I'm making it myself. I think I'm creating the image of what every gay man wants to be."
To make his works, Infantino envisions elaborate scenes and then stages them with elaborate photo shoots he does all by himself. For one series of several photographs, he snuck into Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn wearing nothing but an elaborate cape, set up his tripod and while security guards circulated, waited until he was alone to get naked and take his pictures.The show at the Center is the first for Infantino and people's positive reaction to his work has been thrilling for him."It wasn't easy for me to move to a foreign country," he said. "Everything was tough, not speaking the language. When people said they thought my work was mesmerizing, that was priceless to hear people say those words."

©GayCityNews 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Debunker Gives Up the Ghost

Passionate about dispassionate fact-finding, Derek Araujo takes helm at the Center For Inquiry.
As an Ivy League undergraduate physics major, smartie cum hottie Derek Araujo founded the Harvard Secular Society, an organization committed to rational and scientific explanations of phenomena and values.

Although he was raised in Massachusetts in a religious family, Araujo, 30, has always been passionate about eschewing dogma in favor of sifting the facts to make decisions and behave ethically in a complicated world. After getting his law degree, also at Harvard, and making the big bucks on the corporate side for a while, Araujo was named the new executive director of the New York chapter of the Center for Inquiry in April. CFI, a so-called secular humanist organization, publishes Skeptical Inquirer magazine, long known largely for investigating haunted houses and other ineffable stuff including alien life, but now shifting focus to issues such as stem cell research and the impact of fundamentalist religions on the world political stage.

Aruajo lives near Columbus Circle with his attorney partner of four and a half years and is a devotee of - and Web master for - jazz bassist and '60s rock icon Jack Bruce (

CHRISTOPHER MURRAY: So what's a secular humanist?

DEREK ARAUJO: A secular humanist is an atheist or agnostic who derives his or her ethics from reason rather than religion. The term emphasizes that rejecting the existence of the supernatural doesn't mean giving up the distinction between right and wrong. You don't see much religion in college courses on ethical philosophy, after all. Most non-religious people fit the "secular humanist" label, even if they don't apply it to themselves.

CM: Why is it important to grow the CFI in New York City now?

DA: It's important to grow in New York because our city is the nation's media and cultural hub. And it's important to do so now because science, reason, and secularism are under vigorous assault from so many quarters. Science, church-state separation, and freedom of inquiry are traditions that have kept our democracy strong, and they need defending.

CM: The Skeptical Inquirer has been investigating haunted houses for over 30 years and never found a ghost?

DA: Not one! The only spirits we ever found were in the liquor cabinets. So the magazine has mostly given up that search to take on other fringe science claims, such as "intelligent design" creationism, homeopathic medicine, and New Age therapies.

CM: Both your partner and you are corporate lawyers, but you just left that to run the New York office of CFI. Why did you make that change, with the, I assume, concurrent hefty salary cut?

DA: I took an enormous salary cut, and I did so for the opportunity to work full-time on issues I'm passionate about. I still practice law with CFI, but now focus on the kinds of cases that excited me in law school, like church-state separation. I try not to think about the pay cut because it could make me cry. I count myself lucky to have a partner who's willing to support me in what I do. And it helps that he's still a corporate attorney.

CM: How do you respond when people say that there are more important issues to be concerned with in a country at war than whether there is extraterrestrial life or whether ESP exists?

DA: ESP and extraterrestrials aren't CFI's main focus. We are particularly active in supporting church-state separation and stem cell research, among other issues. But the short answer to your question is that this argument proves too much. We could ask the same question about support for gay rights, or any other issue we care about. If we wanted to, we could make the war in Iraq our only priority and turn ourselves into a military dictatorship, or a modern Sparta. The wonder of the human mind is its ability to fret about multiple problems at once.So I can worry about the war, support marriage equality, and defend science and reason all at the same time. The longer answer is that there's good reason to worry about irrational thinking. Think of the immense misery and death that result from teaching discredited abstinence-only sex education, inhibiting condom use in AIDS-ridden Africa, or opposing stem cell research because of the belief that a sand grain-sized speck of cells has a tiny soul.

CM: Is your family religious? Doesn't your mom have a 'strange entity' she believes in?

DA: Most members of my immediate family are religious. My father has become much more religious as he has grown older. Some equate that with growing wiser, but I think of it more like getting arthritis. And yes, my mother is one of the 40 or 50 percent of Americans who believe in ghosts. She swears that one visited her when she was a child. But we all manage to get along fine. Part of being a skeptic in modern America is dealing with a large majority who think very differently than you do.

CM: Are there any logical sympathies between secular humanists and gay people? I'm thinking in particular of alternatives to religious fundamentalism.

DA: Most definitely, and you put your finger on the reason. It's hard for many gay people to take seriously a holy book that explicitly condemns them to death by stoning. Even the New Testament denounces same-sex intercourse. So it's no surprise to me that many gay people lose their religion. Secular humanists, on the other hand, embrace gay people and support their equal rights, so it's not a bad alternative.

CM: Is there any personal connection for you between your homosexuality and skepticism?

DA: There is a connection, but not a causal relation. I became a skeptic of religion at an early age, before I was aware of my sexuality, by following my interests in science and philosophy. But discovering and dealing with my homosexuality probably reinforced my skepticism. There's a lot of religious bigotry against gay people, dressed up as moral concern. The reasoning, to the extent there is any, is always bogus, and often dishonest. The Catholic Church, for instance, condemns homosexuality on the basis of long-discredited Aristotelian notions of teleology and "offenses against nature."I never could understand how something that brings so much joy and fulfillment to two loving, consenting adults, and that brings no harm at all to anyone else, could be immoral. It shows that this brand of religious thinking is deeply perverted. It's also ironic to derive opposition to homosexuality from the thinking of the ancient Greeks. They practically invented the stuff.

CM: The LGBT community has its own long-standing internal controversies, for example those who are skeptical in some way of the reality of bisexuality or transgenderism. How can principles of inquiry approach these beliefs or prejudices?

DA: Scientific investigation is the only method I know of approaching these issues. Crystal balls and tea leaves just aren't useful for these questions. Sadly, there isn't much research in sexuality today, mainly due to opposition from conservative politicians. They probably fear we will discover a biological basis for sexuality.

CM: Paul Kurtz, in an article in The Skeptical Inquirer from 2004 about science's power and limitations in helping us make ethical judgments outside of a religious framework, asked: "Is homosexuality genetic, and if so, is the denial of same-sex marriage morally wrong?" What's your answer to that, Derek?

DA: As to the first question, my understanding of the current research is that homosexuality probably has some genetic component, but only enough to explain less than half of the variance in sexual orientation. Politically-motivated funding cuts mean that the research is spotty and far from conclusive. In any case, it's important to emphasize that even if homosexuality has no genetic basis, this doesn't necessarily mean it's a choice.Biological factors other than genes, like prenatal hormonal influences, might play a role. Compare handedness. For a long time, we thought that handedness wasn't genetic, but nobody argued we could therefore choose our handedness the way we choose which shirt to wear. We knew it was hard-wired into each person, but we didn't know how - by genes, by hormonal influences in the womb, or by some combination of these and other factors. Likewise for sexuality.Regarding the morality of same-sex marriage, we often fixate on the genetics question because gay rights opponents tend to soften their resistance if they think homosexuality isn't a choice. I would suggest, however, that the biological basis of homosexuality should have no bearing either way on questions of civil rights. Same-sex love brings immense happiness to many people, and harms no one. Even if sexuality were a matter of choice, I could see no reasonable basis for denying gay people equal rights.

©GayCityNews 2007

Laura At Bat

The current president of the quarter-century-old Prospect Park Women's Softball League, Laura Teeple played the game through junior high but says she chickened out during high school. "I couldn't help it if I was half the size of the other girls," said Teeple, 40, who started with the league 12 years ago.

She met her partner, Ellen, with whom she lives in a 130-year-old carriage house in Boerum Hill, 10 years ago while they were both playing in the league. Her partner has served as president for three one-year terms.Teeple, a former opera singer and Equity stage manager, is a United States Park police officer stationed in the Marine Patrol Unit in New York Harbor and charged with protecting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and the tourists who visit them."We are, if not the oldest, one of the oldest uniformed law enforcement agencies in the federal government," she said, "started in 1791 by George Washington."Teeple began as a New York City Parks enforcement officer on the Mounted Unit in Brooklyn and then Queens. She still owns a horse, along with two dogs, a ferret, and a snake. Asked what the biggest headache is with the league, she said, "Trying to keep all the folks focused on meeting and trying desperately not have to over-process everything. That's so lesbian!"

CHRISTOPHER MURRAY: What does the league president do?

LAURA TEEPLE: Basically I run our monthly meetings and try to get people from all 12 teams to participate in fundraising activities as well as social activities. I have an amazing executive team who take care of a lot of the nitty gritty details and really keep things going.

CM: How big is the league, and how many of the players are lesbians or trans folk?

LT: Well let's see, we have 12 teams of 20 player so that makes about 240 women who play 14 games during the months of May through August and wind up the season with a round robin tournament the second week of September. I'd say the vast majority of the women who play are lesbian but there are plenty of straight women who play. And call me clueless but I have no idea if we have any trans players, although all are welcome.

CM: Is competition ferocious?

LT: Sometimes that depends on the team. Some teams are definitely more competitive-minded than others. Most play for the fun of learning and playing. This is an educational league so we take women of all skill levels and try to divvy them up so the teams are balanced. Of course, people improve their play throughout the summer and depending on the team it can really make a difference when it comes to winning.

CM: Why are community sports important for women, for lesbians?

LT: Personally, I think community sports are important for people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and creeds. It gives people a sense of belonging and, not to mention, some good exercise and fun. For lesbians, in my opinion, it is an important part of community away from the bar scene, although we can and do party pretty hard! For some women the bar scene is not their thing, for others it's a chance to be outside and enjoy the company of others.

CM: Is there ever conflict between straight and gay or trans people on the teams?

LT: To my knowledge we have not had any real problems in that sense. There will always be personalities that clash on occasion, but if it doesn't get worked out there is always the transfer process during the draft the next season. Just like any team sport, the team generally comes before the individual. That doesn't mean folks aren't supportive when things happen in their teammates lives, it just means most of us are on a team to play and enjoy ourselves... oh and winning a game or two doesn't hurt.

CM: How close do people get?

LT: Um, do I have to answer that? Close. Women tend to develop close friendships, it's what we do! If two teammates start dating and then break up, that can be tricky. If it's one of those mutual breakups, staying on the same team can work, but I think most of the time for those parties involved, someone bows out or goes to another team.

CM: Is beer in integral part of league activities?

LT: Well, I can't say that we don't drink, but usually it's after a game and not during. We do have fans that bring champagne, beer, and picnics when they watch the games. Going out as a team after a game is definitely a social ritual I think most of us practice. We play during the weekdays so the vast majority of us would prefer not to go to work with a hangover!

CM: What if someone reading this is a big lesbian couch potato but thinks they might want to get involved at some point?

LT: Put on your sneaks and show up for tryouts in the spring. Find a friend and bring her too! Keep an eye out on our Web site ( for social times like our opening day party, all-star party, or other events. We are trying to get info out to people but the Web site is probably our best medium.

©GayCityNews 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

Bisexual Author Celebrated

Breaking Bi Barriers

EROS: A JOURNEY OF MULTIPLE LOVESBy Serena Anderlini-D'OnofrioHarrington Park Press$29.95; 223 pages


Nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in the new bisexual category, Serena Anderlini-D'Onofrio's new book, "Eros: A Journey of Multiple Loves," speaks passionately and frankly about her experiences on the erotic and sexual frontiers.

CHRISTOPHER MURRAY: This may sound dumb, but what's a bisexual to you?

SERENA ANDERLINI-D'ONOFRIO: A bisexual person is to me a person with the inclination and ability to love, sexually and otherwise, persons of all genders, women, men, and anything in between.

CM: Okay, so what's polyamorousness?

SA: Polyamory is to me the inclination and conscious ability to love, sexually and otherwise, more than one person at a time.

CM: You've written a fictionalized memoir about these topics. What does the fictionalized part mean?

SA: It means that I had the plot and I had to make a good story out of it. With memoirs you have to stick to the plot that your life gives you. You cannot make up things and or use people in ways they're not willing. That's the challenge. The fictionalization is that gentle veil you put over it to offer people a way to say, "I don't know this person, that's not me."But people are not always ready to see themselves as you see them. They might see the project as a way for you to get even. In my case, the intention was always healing. I consulted everybody and gave them plenty of time to get back to me. Many did.

CM: How do you think bisexual identities are changing within the greater queer community? SA: Bis came out and found ourselves as a group in the throes of the AIDS scare. We were the fence sitters that spied between the two separate groups. The stigma catalyzed self-awareness and unity. Today, at least nominally, there is inclusiveness. It's all LGBT.But then, sometimes it's lip service, because nobody wants to see the difference. I see myself as a bit of a one-of-a-kind. So the word queer suits me. I teach at the University of Puerto Rico. Last year my campus hosted the first conference on sexual diversity on the island. We called it Del Otro La'o, "from the other side." We did not use the word queer. The challenge is to have forms of queer theory that are applicable to the lives of real, concrete people.

CM: As someone who has lived all over the world, do different cultures understand polyamorous relationships differently.

SA: As the practice of honestly and responsibly loving more than one person at once, polyamory can manifest in many forms. Islamic polygamy can host forms of genuine polyamorousness within it. When the co-wives love each other, care for each other's children, that is certainly more polyamorous than the conventional wife and mistress who are at each other's throats. Some extended families include exes too.My ex has three daughters, each from a different wife. They love each other more than many full sisters do. And the two exes plus the current one get along, too. We've cooperated on co-parenting. It's not sexual polyamory, but of the soul and spirit. It's also transnational, since they live in Italy.My favorite form of polyamory is a bit utopian; it is based on polyandry, where a woman has several male partners. But in my utopia, the male partners are amorous with each other too, and so are the women.

CM: What kinds of relationships are you drawn to now?

SA: My happiness is proportional to the measure in which I am in love and at peace with all the people who are important and intimate in my life. Also, of course, on having at least one current partner with whom to exchange fluids, possibly exclusively, and a number of lovers-at-large with whom to share leisure time, intimacy, closeness, and sometimes highly explorative erotic experiences. I have all this right now. But I work at it and my partners do too. It does not happen easily.

CM: You talk about a "different, queer world" where things would work better. What things, and how better?

SA: Everything. A world where people are willing to share resources is a world where scarcity turns into abundance. And love is one of these resources, perhaps the most needed. If we turn selfish/exclusive love into shared/selfless love, we can resolve the multiple crises our little planet is in. To multiply the love, the world needs to become more queer. We need to learn the arts of loving and healing at the school of erotic expression, body ecology, and queer theory.

CM: You've spoken to many student groups around the country about non-traditional relationships. Do you find the younger generation significantly different?

SA: The only constant thing about tradition is that it changes. I teach a course on love in the Western tradition. It includes Plato's "Symposium," where Socrates is desired by two young and handsome male disciples, and Sappho, who watches her beloved being amorously kissed by her groom. It includes Phaedra, who commits suicide because her stepson does not reciprocate her feelings, and Casanova, who makes love to two willing and eager sisters, one 11 the other 13, plus their transgendered pretend castrato older sibling. Also, a nun in baroque attire whose other lover is a high prelate, and whose best friend, another nun, shares Casanova with her. That's tradition!The younger generation has as much potential for love as any. They need the freedom to learn what love is - in its infinite forms. They need to get past the mode of fear set off by the AIDS scare. They need space to experiment with practices of love that are ecologically sustainable and healing. They need education on non-reproductive pleasures that can be shared. Relationships are good, but I would not get stuck on that concept, it's pop-psychology and restrictive.

CM: How did it feel to have been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award?

SA: Very exciting. I believe in literature and I am happy that so many good writers are queer. I feel fortunate that the bi category was open this year and I'm happy that many bi and poly friends were at the awards too. I am also grateful to my publisher, Harrington Park Press for its pioneering work with bi books.

©GayCityNews 2007

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Interview with the Commissioner of Health

Public Health, Public Resistance

The passionate and often controversial city health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Frieden earned his stripes as a physician during the early days of AIDS in New York after getting degrees in medicine and public health at Columbia. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with whom he shares a passion for health issues, brought him back from his work fighting tuberculosis in India with the promise of giving him free reign to fight tobacco addiction here.

The results have been remarkable, with the city having 200,000 less smokers today than it did five years ago. HIV is a top priority for him as well, but he has run afoul of many AIDS activists on issues like changing testing laws and exploring adult circumcision as a viable prevention strategy. Frieden lives in the city with his wife and one child.

CHRISTOPHER MURRAY: What sort of relationships should a public health leader have with different constituencies?

DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN: One thing to recognize about any intervention is that all public health is local and although New York is one city, there are enormous differences between neighborhoods and populations. To be effective, we have to both understand each neighborhood as well as possible and have good linkages with each of the groups or individuals within a community that can have the most impact.

CM: How would you characterize your relationship with the LGBT community?

TF: I think some issues have worked better than others. The whole issue of HIV has been very conflictual. We've done a lot of things that I think people agree with, whether it's some of our work with condoms or crystal methamphetamine or some of our funding of anti-stigma campaigns. These are all firsts for the city in terms of many of the things that we've done.

We've also made progress with some issues like housing and health care, but clearly there have been a couple of issues that have been conflictual. One of them has been with HIV counseling and testing. I think it's fair to say that there have been a diversity of opinions within the LGBT community and there are people, very prominent people, who completely agree with what we're trying to do on HIV counseling and testing. There are others who think it's terrible and we've had really hundreds of hours of meetings with different groups.

Sometimes you get to where you agree to disagree. But at least I think we are much further along and that everyone agrees, and this was not the case five years ago, everyone agrees that it's in everyone's interest for more people to know their HIV status. I think you still had some reluctance on that score a few years back, so that's positive.

The other area that's been difficult is the whole issue of transgender birth certificates. It's an area that's really complicated, probably more complicated than we recognized when we began getting into it, but at least we're in a situation, which was not the case a few years ago, where if you've gone through a transgender procedure, you can get a birth certificate with the new gender on it. That wasn't the case a couple of years ago. So, I know the community didn't by any means get everything it wanted, but at least we're better off than we were in terms of what the community sees as its needs.

CM: To what extent did political factors play into the decision about transgender IDs?

TF: I think the transgender ID issue was just, I think we underestimated the complexity of it. I think, for example, there are significant differences between male-to-female and female-to-male in terms of the relative likelihood of surgical intervention being integral to the process. In addition, there obviously were concerns not so much political as operational and legal concerns from a variety of other organizations, agencies, and institutions. I think I've said it pretty plainly before that I think we should have done our homework better before we moved that proposal forward.

CM: I know you are concerned that half the gay men infected with HIV in our city are unaware of it. Your proposal to move from written to oral consent for HIV testing met with intense resistance from some. What creates resistance to a measure like the one you suggested?

TF: Well, I think there are real problems that I can't be very effective addressing. But If we look at the issue of number of partners and the amount of unsafe sex, if you think about the importance of somebody to behave responsibly, whether that involves sero-sorting which is a form of harm reduction, or more reliable use of condoms or a lower number of sexual partners or all of the above, any of those things would make a really big difference in terms of HIV risk.

But, you know, I haven't been hearing that from the gay community. I haven't been hearing it. And if I say it, it will be at best counter-productive. It really needs to come from within the community. This is still an epidemic that's devastating the gay community and I am opposed to anything that would criminalize sexual behavior, but if someone who's HIV-positive has sex without a condom, insertive anal sex without a condom with someone whose HIV status they don't know, that's wrong. It's ethically wrong and the community should be saying that, I shouldn't be saying it, the community should be saying it.

CM: You said that in some ways that message has to come from the gay community. Do you think there is a role for public health in a discussion about sexual ethics?

TF: I don't know. It's not something I've thought about a whole lot. I think the health department can provide information. We have a lot of information about what's going on out there that people may not be fully aware of. We are one of many possibilities for convening discussions on things. We're probably not the best possibility to convene a discussion on that topic.

CM: Would you support a gay community organization that developed a program to increase sero-sorting among HIV-positive men, but not among HIV-negative men?

TF: I'd need to see the details, but one thing that we've found with some of the analysis that we've done is people do a lot of lay epidemiology. We've had a series of investigations where we've talked with men and they make assumptions about who is positive. They'll say, "Well, that guy's always a top, so he's probably not positive," and those assumptions wind up being wrong a large number of times. So, one of the problems with sero-sorting is - you get it wrong, you are in big trouble. That said, among people who know they are positive, if someone who is positive is going to have unprotected sex, I'd much rather them have it with someone else who is positive, than with someone who is negative. From an infection-prevention standpoint, I think there's a lot of that going on. The risk of super-infection isn't nil, but it's clearly a lot lower than infecting someone who's negative.

CM: You mentioned leaders who supported new HIV testing policies. I know both Dennis de Leon of the Latino Commission on AIDS and Spencer Cox of the Medius Institute for Gay Men's Health were people who supported that. Do you think you have strong relationships with the community?

TF: They could certainly be better. They are not always terrible. I think some of the groups engage in what has been called the politics of opposition, so whatever we propose they are going to be opposed to because we proposed it. That really is unhelpful. There is also a certain divorce between reality and what some of the groups are saying that's really problematic. When we go out to interact with patients for testing and diagnosing people, we hear things that are very different from what some of the community groups are saying when they allege to represent the community. So, that's unfortunate.

What I've said before and I will say again, HIV is a terrible epidemic. The virus is very difficult to deal with. It's killed close to 100,000 New Yorkers and we have more than 100,000 people living with HIV today. Globally, of course, tens of millions. And our tools to fight it are weak. We don't have a slam dunk here. We don't have a cure, we don't have a vaccine. We don't have any intervention, public health or social, that can in and of itself turn the tide.On top of that, the few interventions we have are all controversial and either the right or the left opposes them. So, we end up with an epidemic that has benefited enormously by the advocacy to increase resources and attention and focus, but that has suffered enormously by the politicalization of our interventions.

CM: In what way has AIDS touched your life personally?

TF: I trained as a doctor in New York in the '80s. I took care of hundreds of people who died of AIDS. I had close friends who died from AIDS. When I left New York City in 1996 to go to India for five years, I had several close, personal friends whom I thought I would never see again because they were terribly ill and there are two I think of particularly who are now working full-time. I have to say that of all the areas in the purview of the department that are really important, I think HIV is the one that we've made the least progress on.

©GayCityNews 2007

Monday, June 4, 2007

"Fate's Imagination" review

The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings

A CurtainUp Review
Fate's Imagination
By Christopher Murray

Elizabeth Norment and Jed Orlemann in Fate's Imagination (Photo: Monique Carboni)

Time means nothing to you. I've been glued to the past, wasted countless nights unraveling the torment of days gone by. I've been invisible to myself. But now I choose to reveal myself to you because I want you as a friend, as a lover, as anything you can be.— Lilah

The drama in Randall David Cook's new play Fate's Imagination begins, as it so often does in life, with that old chestnut of an interrogative: "Would you like to go back to my place and fool around?" In this case, the proposal is made by an older woman, Lilah (Elizabeth Norment), to a much younger man, Brock (Jed Orlemann). The twist on the Dustin Hofmann/Anne Bancroft romance is provided by the hidden conflict between Lilah and Brock's mother, Susan (Donna Mitchell), a Hillary Clintonesque junior Senator from New York, in the midst of a nascent Presidential bid.