Not Alien at All

So I decided to take a flying leap out of the gender world & read a novel, right? & I chose The Alienist, since it was a book Betty had recommended to our reading group years ago for a meeting that I missed. And what does the first grisly murder scene entail? A young boy painted and dressed like a girl who’s been selling himself sexually to survive.

Is that weird or what? It’s like no matter what I do, there’s a tranny somewhere, or more like everywhere. I can’t escape.

The Other Polar Bears

The New York Polar Bears made a point of not swimming in the water today. Why?

Polar Bears held a moment of silence, turned their backs on the Atlantic and headed toward the boardwalk, a protest, albeit an underdressed one, against global warming, they said.

Louis Scarcella, 55, a former homicide detective and president of the Coney Island club, said the weather has been so mild that he is considering canceling the group’s winter swimming season, which usually runs from November to April. A club season has not been canceled since the group was founded 104 years ago.

“I have not made the decision yet,” Mr. Scarcella said gravely. “I have to meet with my board.

“It’s a possibility,” he added. “It’s not the extreme sport that we love. It’s a very easy swim.”

How much do they rock? While everyone else is saying vapid things about enjoying the “unseasonable weather,” they actually said what needed saying.

A Queer Sunday

Reading John Waters’ article about Tennesee Williams – and in The New York Times Book Review, no less! – was a treat. I love them both, for being queer, for their art, for their humor and sarcasm and truth.

These are my people, and always have been.

But it made me think about the books I had to “steal” as a kid, or read secretly. For me, it was Joe Orton’s biography, Prick Up Your Ears, first and foremost. I heard about him reading interviews with Adam Ant, who simultaneously introduced me to Marc Bolan, the erotic art of Allen Jones, Derek Jarman, and Tom of Finland. Around the same time I discovered Soft Cell and Marc Almond, who in turn turned my head toward the likes of Jacques Brel and Jean Genet. (And I wonder why I turned out the way I am, reading about rough trade and anonymous bathroom sex when I was 15.)

They were all great “bad” influences, their books and art I hid from my mother. They told me there was another world out there, just as Tennesee Williams told John Waters there was.

So who were yours?

End of the Century

Or more like the end of an era. Today CBGB closes its doors. Thanks, Hilly, for all those years of punk rock, for influencing 30+ years of music, for great unannounced gigs, hardcore Sundays and stacked chairs.
Sometimes it’s almost seems like all signs are telling me it’s time to leave NYC; it’s not my city anymore, at least not the one I fell in love with, anyway.

< — & Yes, that’s me & Betty (she’s in the tux & I’m in the gown – nutty, right?) on our wedding day. & Yes, those are DMs I’m wearing: Johnny Joey DeeDee, good times, indeed.

I think Richard Hell got at some of it in this Op-Ed for The New York Times, in which he said,

“We all know that nothing lasts. But at least we can make a cool and funny exhibit of it. I’m serious. God likes change and a joke. God loves CBGB’s.”

But you know, we tend to come to regret when we don’t step in and save a well-loved institution or two, and I thought we’d learned that by now in NYC. But alas, apparently not, but I think we will come to regret this loss, to be honest.

Transgender Legal Rights @ NYC Bar Association

Our lovely and talented friend Donna is moderating a panel on Transgender Legal Rights this coming Tuesday, October 17th. Here’s the info:

A panel dicussion about current judicial, legislative, and political developments on the local, state, and federal levels, affecting the legal and civil rights of transgendered persons.
Where & When:
The Association of the Bar of the City of New York
42 W. 44 Street
New York, New York 10036
October 17, 2006, 7-9 pm
Moderator: Donna M. Levinsohn, Counsel, Warshaw Burstein Cohen Schlesinger & Kuh, LLP

  • Pooja Gehi, Staff Attorney, Sylvia Rivera Law Project
  • Sharon M. McGowan, Staff Attorney, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project
  • Pauline Park, Chair, New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA)
  • Franklin Romeo, Kirkland & Ellis Fellow, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Michael Silverman, Executive Director & General Counsel, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc.

Exit: Eve

Betty and I learned the sad news this week that the founder of the Jean Cocteau Repertory and one of the regular directors of the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Eve Adamson, died suddenly this week. She was 69 years old.
She started the Cocteau in the 70s in the East Village; she was the first to stage the Ballet Trocadero in New York. When Betty went to her to explain her gender issues, she didn’t miss a beat, and reminded us that she knew Candy Darling.
She was that kind of artistic person, a New Yorker who was around when New York was reinventing the world, & art, & culture. It was people like her who created the New York I wanted to live in. It seems somehow fitting to me that she would make her exit the same month that CBGB will finally close its doors; they were both of an era that is over.
But more than that, she was a woman who formed a theatre company in the 70s, when the theatre world was still very much a man’s world (which, some say, it still is). But there is no doubt it was in the 70s, and she did the classics – but always insisted on them being relevant to today’s audience.
Seeing her direction of Oedipus in the days after 9/11 with the actors intoning, “My city, my city…” brought that out a little too clearly.
She directed the last play that Tennesee Williams would see premiered in New York in his lifetime.
Without women like her, I couldn’t be doing what I do now. It is reassuring in her death to know that she did what she wanted to do for most of her life; she kept doing her art, she kept telling her actors to find their light, she kept breathing new life into classic plays and bringing whole new audiences under their sway.
Eve, theatre will miss you, New York will miss you, & I will miss you.
Her friends and fans are free to leave their own messages here.

Week 7: Buster Film Fest

Today at Film Fest, Buster Keaton in The Cameraman and Spite Marriage. The Cameraman is one of the few Buster films shot in NYC, and is great for anyone interested in vintage footage of 1920s New York – it’s also one of the last best Buster Keaton performances of this era. Spite Marriage has one singularly brilliant scene, of newlywed Buster putting a very, very drunk wife to bed.