Saturday, July 30, 2011

Popupchapel

Today I married two couples in Central Park. A beautiful day! Check out Popupchapel.com for details. These photos are by my husband the Baad Lamb and by JoeMyGod.



Here is the link to the individual photos on Flickr if you want to read the captions.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Honk for Love

By West Village Bill

I didn't see a happy couple, but I was one of a few guys snapping mobile-phone-camera pix of this cutely decorated car, with a Jersey plate, on Perry Street in my neighborhood this afternoon.




Don't Look Back

by baad lamb

In the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah, God destroys the cities but spares Lot and his family. He warns them all not to look back as they flee the raining fire and brimstone, but Lot's wife did and she was immediately turned into a pillar of salt. We were taught that this story was a warning of the wickedness of homosexuals (and somehow were expected to overlook the "godly" father who offered up his young virgin daughters to be gang-raped). What most of us took from it as we opened up our dark closet doors and danced into the sunshine was "Don't Look Back".

In the 21st century story of equal rights for all New Yorkers, the legislative body elected by and for New Yorkers finally grasped the equal part, and same-sex couples can now get married, divorced, and remarried as often, and for as profound or as frivolous reasons as their straight brothers and sisters. There will be no looking back.
Enter betrothed here
Exit married here!

The long line-up waiting for that moment
Father Tony assembles a wedding party photo

The First Batch of Same-Sex Marriages in New York City

The Baad Lamb and I went to the City Clerk's Office this afternoon to join the cheering crowd (drowning out the two dismal protesters) of well-wishers as the first several hundred same-sex couples were granted licenses, and, with the otherwise mandatory 24 hour wait waived, got married on the spot.

The lines wrapped around the block with each couple clutching the card that would allow them inside to obtain their license and to get immediately hitched.

Here's a slideshow, or use this link to see the names/captions.



Outside the building, whenever the revolving exit door delivered another newly wed couple,  an accordian player would cue the crowd which would break into applause and cheers.
Here's a video of the lonely protester cordoned off across the street.



One of the two protestors refused to give his name or affiliation. Another older man named Joseph Garber identified himself as a concerned Jewish New Yorker whose signs demanded that Archbishop Dolan excommunicate Governor Cuomo. He seemed grammatically challenged. One of his posters read "Homo Sexuality is a Biblican Sin".

I chatted with the Reverend Thomas Synan of the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest located at East 90th Street and 5th Avenue. He was there to offer his blessing to any of the newlyweds who might want it. When I asked him if his church is 100% in favor of the concept of same-sex marriage, he replied, "Not yet 100% but we're working on that. There is certainly a solid block of us."

There were other marriage officiants offering their services for a range of fees. I saw prices from less than $50 to $100. Cantor Shira Belfer was offering a custom-tailored Jewish ceremony at her shop on East 14th Street. Today, she brought with her some pvc pipe to fashion an instant chuppah for any impetuous Jewish newlyweds.

The happiness was contagious.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Perry Brass: Lost Gay New York: Alexander McQueen at the Metropolitan Museum



It’s hard to imagine that at one time not that along ago, New York was a city awash in fashion, in its own sense of New York style and feeling. Now you walk up Fifth Avenue, and “style” is the Hollister store, the NBA store, H & M, and other dreary corporate dreck-sellers, where the important thing is selling not a look or feeling but the shopping bag that the stuff comes in.

But New York, especially lost gay New York was all about fashion; this sense that you felt fantastic, and sexy, so everything you put on felt that way too—and you could be outrageous with it. One incarnation of this was cranberry red velvet jeans. It seemed that in 1968 they were all over the place. You saw men in them and women in them; they were of a red of such unabashed intensity that it stopped traffic on the street, so walking down New York avenues became like Morse Code: lots of stops and dashes, just looking at this amazing color stretched across the thighs and asses of so many good-looking people. Fashion seer Diana Vreeland once said that the two most stylish periods of American life were the 1920s and the 1960s: she was right. There was this sense of outrage and also just the right amount of money running around—you need money. Fashion needs money, but even more it needs a sense of permission, something that Right-Wing gorgons like Michelle Bachman want to choke the hell out of.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, still running at the Metropolitan Museum reminded me of this full flowering of youth and excess that is now barely glimpsable. The show, the most popular in the history of the Metropolitan Museum, is both wondrous and sad.

(photo: Alexander McQueen, courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Heat

It falls on you like a pile of wood when you walk into the street. Women in the subway lift and knot the hair from their necks. Dark new continents appear on cotton shirts. Dogs mind the leash and can't sniff differences in the air. The deranged delight in it as common ground with the sane of the city who turn away from their cackling, too spent to tell them to shut up.

Young NYC Voices on Marriage

You will want to listen to their voices. Most of them are straight. As expected, the right to love whomever you wish to love is obvious to most of them, even the ones who are misinformed about the mechanics of marriage and the current availability of benefits for unmarried same sex couples. The religious ones know that the teachings of their faiths are at variance with marriage equality but they express their personal openness to it. This entire argument will disappear within a generation or two.

(NY Times photo/graphic)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Broadway, Last Night

I almost don't remember a time when this stretch wasn't a pedestrian mall where people could rest on a hot summer night.

Fork On The Left, Knife In The Back, Michael Musto At Heart


For twenty-seven New York City years (127 elsewhere years), Michael Musto has delivered a reliably sparkling column called La Dolce Musto, the first thing most readers turn to when they open The Village Voice. Musto is fascinated by and in love with New York City, and NYC loves him back and embraces him completely as its Renaissance gay clown prince who knows all the good dirt. Simply, if Musto is preoccupied with someone or something, we should be too. In a city crawling with pouty Carrie Bradshaws, bless their hearts, Musto’s entrance at any event is a benediction and a raised baton signaling the overture to greater fun.

Most of us see him about town from a respectful distance—not that he is aloof—but I finally sat down with him at the East Village, Cooper Square offices of the paper to see if he was really the kind of man I suspected. On the day of the Casey Anthony verdict, a trial he had covered with relish, we watched the televised scene in the courtroom. When I asked him if he felt justice had been done, he said, “Oh yes. Absolutely.  No evidence of murder one.” The verdict was incidental to his titillation with the story. It is the human drama and people in all their colorful, quirky and tawdry glory that beguile him.

I asked how he became “Michael Musto”. Was it intentional?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

BABY JANE DEXTER's NEW CD


The legendary cabaret jazz singer Baby Jane Dexter has a new CD available here. Check it out!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

2011: a cornucopia of free summer events in new york city (UPDATED)

summer is upon us and that means the parks, plazas and waterfronts become venues for more music, theater, and dance than you can shake at stick at, but it's always fun to try.   here's a compiled list of the more major festivals that grace our fine city, like city parks summerstage, celebrate brooklyn,  the river to river festival, take me to the river festival,  the bryant park and brooklyn bridge park film festivals and a large list of free outdoor theater festivals and venues. 

the main factor is that everything is free!

the full list after the jump...


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bear Week 2011 Provincetown

Reports that NYC and Fort Lauderdale are deserted should be believed. Ptown is in a very happy mood!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Side Effects

"Side Effects" presented by MCC Theatre at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, June 30, 2011

(photo by Joan Marcus)


Michael Weller returns to MCC Theatre with the other side of the story from 2008's Fifty Words.  He's got a little more to say this time around, but it's the performances that make the visit worthwhile.

Bipolar Melinda (Joely Richarson) doesn't like to take her medicine, which frustrates her politically ambitious husband Hugh (Cotter Smith) to no end.  With two sons echoing Melinda's polar split (perfect son vs. screw-up son), both Melinda and Hugh maintain a total disregard for human nature that encourages this.  Their relationship devolves quickly as Hugh's political star begins to rise. Melinda is angry at being dragged along the for the ride and takes every opportunity to spoil the possibilities.  Hugh remains the definition of calm, cool and collected, until Melinda pushes him over the edge following the boys' car accident with her own breakdown.  Melinda's affair with Adam (from Fifty Words) shows up to push the plot along, but feels contrived since it's no more than a couple of one-sided telephone calls for exposition.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Master Class

Posted by Mondschein

"Master Class" presented by Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, June 26, 2011

Terrence McNalley's 1995 fantasia of Maria Callas conducting a master class at the Julliard School in the 1970s returns to Broadway courtesy of Manhattan Theatre Club. 


Playing La Divina is an unlikely Tyne Daly, whose Callas simmers and seethes through the thinnest of skins, bristling at the smallest perception of a slight to a star of her caliber.  Ms. Daly masters the intricate diction of the singer beautifully, though she felt occasionally less than clear as she navigated the memory segments, interacting with her first husband, then Onassis.  Callas was a consummate acting singer - a novelty in opera at the time.  As she coaches each of the three "victims" (her word), she sends each one back to their score to find the answers in the composer's music and text.  (It's a solid performance/coaching/directing technique best and most recently demonstrated by David Cromer's recent productions of "Our Town" and "Brighton Beach Memoirs.")  Ms. Daly's Callas is not subtle though she strives for elegance.  The narcissistic fragility interrupts too often.

wave hill in the bronx

wave hill is a nice place to stop on a summer's day and enjoy the view of the gardens and the hudson river while resting under a shade tree in one of the comfortable lawn chairs scattered across the estate.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fire Island Invasion

By West Village Bill

Tony P. and I were in Fire Island Pines for part of the long 4th of July weekend and so were able to catch the 35th annual Invasion of that hamlet by a boatload of drag queens (and a few drag kings) from Cherry Grove.


Miss Meat-Rack 2011 was one of my favorite individual queens. Tony and I really enjoyed the collection of Esther Williams wanna-bes, who did a synchronized-swimming-style routine on the dock; they won the (no doubt highly coveted) Most Tragic Group award.


Many more photos after the jump, including the winner of the Best Individual award, Chita, who looked fabulous in gold and oodles of feathers.

IntenSati4Men & Coaching: A Review

I was recently invited to experience a new exercise program called IntenSati4Men & Coaching.  According to press materials, "IntenSati is a revolutionary workout fusing high-energy cardio, martial arts, yoga, strength conditioning, AND spoken affirmations (optional). Originally created by fitness guru Patricia Moreno, it is fitness at the highest efficiency and empowerment — physically challenging and spiritually mindful. Courage, confidence, willpower, enthusiasm, self-respect, and a strong healthy body are all the results of this practice."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ferry to Governor's Island

Did you know that through September 25th, the ferry to Governor's Island is free and that you can board with your bike? Get it at the Maritime Building (where Streisand demanded that no one rain on her parade.) Such things you will see.


I was momentarily distracted from the skyline by the bling on the hand of a passenger on the lower deck.

Monday, July 4, 2011

ENJOY!

Terry Riley's "In C" Live on Governor's Island

by baad lamb
The mesmerizing musical minimalism of Terry Riley's seminal 1964 work "In C" was the kickoff performance of what one hopes will become a (much larger) annual contemporary classical music festival.  "Rite of Summer" has two more scheduled dates of live performances on Governor's Island this summer. (Take the free ferry from the Maritime Building- and bring your bike!).

Whether you find this piece brilliant or boring may depend on your musical adventurism. Saturday's performance of In C began with the first repetitive staccato "C" notes plunked out on a toy piano by the conductor/keyboardist Jed Distler, setting an insistent but measured tempo that does not change for the length of the performance. There is no melody in the conventional sense. Instead, 53 single-bar patterns are played in sequential order by the collected group of musicians. According to the performing directions Mr. Riley wrote to accompany the musical notations, "A group of about 35 is desired if possible, but smaller or larger groups will work." There were approximately 40 musicians on Saturday.

As the piece progresses, individual musicians choose when to enter or depart, and how many times to repeat the phrase they are on. The directions also state the musicians should occasionally drop out and listen, stay within two or three patterns of each other, and alter their alignment with others if there is too much unison. This carefully controlled randomness allows for individual and group improvisation, with the resulting chance-patterns and harmonic overtones giving the piece its sonic depth.



If all this "instruction" leads you to believe that only studious lefty-leaning adults can enjoy this music, you would be wrong. There were plenty of very young children in attendance, and they danced, shook, ran around, or just plain gazed thoughtfully throughout the 45 minutes of this shimmering, engaging outdoor performance.

More pictures, the sheet music and Terry Riley's original performance instructions after the jump...


Friday, July 1, 2011

Pearl and the Beard - July 7 - Brooklyn

I like their evocative harmonies. Music Hall of Williamsburg
Here are two samples tracks: "Reverend" and "Sweetness"



Zodiac Heads

By West Village Bill

Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads, 12 bronze sculptures by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, are on display at the Pulitzer Fountain in Manhattan's Grand Army Plaza through July 15. The pieces are a reinterpretation of "the traditional Chinese zodiac that once adorned the famed fountain-clock of the Yuanming Yuan, an imperial retreat in Beijing," according to the exhibit's website. Ai was released from an undisclosed holding area on June 22 after being detained by the Chinese government for almost three months.

There are two more photos after the jump.