All posts by Dan Vera

Pictures from Philly

Philadelphia_074 As Bo posted a few days back, we had a great time in Philadelphia last week at the LGBTI Health Summit

Among the many activities and workshops we had an opportunity to do a visit to to the Walt Whitman House in nearby Camden, New Jersey.  It was a moving experience to be in that near-sacred space, where Whitman spent the last years of his life and to see the bed he lay in and died in and just the objects that were part of his last years.  The house has been lovingly kept up and we had an engaging, and at times quite lively, conversation about how Whitman’s story is told.  How his relationship to Peter Doyle and others is shared with visitors.  One small delight I had noticed on an earlier visit were these tiny painted white cranes on the brass light fixtures on the first floor.  I took it as a prescient bit of coincidence that our symbol in our work would be present in the great Gay sage’s house.

1charmedlives On Saturday Toby Johnson & Steve Berman held a delightful reading of their new book, and Lambda Literary Award finalist, Charmed Lives at Giovanni’s Room.  It was great to have the two of them reading selections from this volume of short stories they edited.  Toby and Steve have been working on books together for a few years now and this weekend provided the opportunity for them to finally meet face-to-face.   That’s a reminder of the wonder of long-distance collaboration by phone and email.

Well, I’ve attached a few pictures from the weekend.  Hope you enjoy them.

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High Tea in Low Drag

Burnside12A generous creative soul has posted a movie from last November’s birthday party for gay icon and one of the radical faerie founders John Burnside.

The video is a bit long but it gives a nice glimpse into an authentically queer community that honors its elders. You will see many marvelous things including the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and some fantastical wear.

Bo and I were able to be in San Francisco during that time and attended the festivities that honored this great and kind brother.

The video can be seen here.

Tim Hardaway Comes Out!

20070215_194741_1News arrives that one of the highest paid basketball players has come out.  Yes, dear readers, Tim Hardaway has revealed to the world that he doesn’t care what people think.  He wants the whole world to know his truth.  He’s a crazed homophobe. 

Actually, perhaps that’s not news.  What’s really newsworthy is Hardaway’s willingness to vocalize that gay people shouldn’t even exist.

Here’s the exact quote:

"I don’t like gay people and I don’t like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States."

Let’s diagram this paragraph shall we?  The first statement is his right I guess.  He doesn’t like gay people.  I don’t care much for hateful troglodytes.  I guess that’s my right.   His second statement is a declaration of position.  He’s a homophobe.  Also a right I guess.  He then reiterates his first statement of not liking gay people.  He reveals himself a bit repetitive but I guess that too is a right.

But his last statement is the real bit of hydrochloric acid in an otherwise acrid blurtation.  And it’s also more revealing.   

"It shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States."

This statement has more of a wish tone to it.  It’s that "shouldn’t" in there.  It reeks of lawmaking.  Truth be told it has a bit of a genocidal ring to it.  A desire to wipe out all gay people. 

Taken all together Hardaway has, in one fell swoop, assumed the place of definitive textbook bigot.  That he comes from a historically disenfranchised racial minority and not only holds but speaks these words just reminds us of the scope of the problem.  Reprensible knuckle-dragging misanthropy is not confined by race.

Columnist Jason Whitlock puts it well when he writes:

Hardaway is too stupid to realize that racism and hate denied black people inalienable, American rights for hundreds of years. People with Tim Hardaway’s mindset tried to keep 070215_amaechibk_1people who look like Tim Hardaway out of professional sports and every other highly sought profession.

If anyone needed an example of why John Amaechi‘s book about being gay in the NBA and on homophobia in professional sports is so important, Hardaway has provided it.  I hope Amaechi’s Man In The Middle gets more readers as a result of Hardaway’s ignorant excrementary comments.

Perhaps we should all add it to our reading lists.

Celebrating Stephen Fry!

Today we celebrate the words of author, actor and filmmaker, Stephen Fry:

"There are plenty of other things to be got up to in the homosexual world outside the orbit of the anal ring, but the concept that really gets the goat of the gay-hater, the idea that really spins their melon and sickens their stomach is that most terrible and terrifying of all human notions, love. That one can love another of the same gender, that is what the homophobe really cannot stand. Love in all eight tones and all five semitones of the word’s full octave. Love as agape, Eros and philos; love as romance, friendship and adoration; love as infatuation, obsession and lust; love as torture, euphoria, ecstacy and oblivion (this is beginning to read like a Calvin Klein perfume catalogue); love as need, passion and desire." Stephen Fry

Wisdom – Monday, Jan. 15th


070115_moliereToday is the birthday of Molière (1622-1673).
The French playwright is considered the greatest writer of French comedy and is known for his plays "Les Femmes Savantes," "The Imaginary Invalid,"  "Sganarelle, ou le Cocu Imaginaire," "Tartuffe" and many other masterpieces of Commedia dell’arte.
Martin Greif writes that when Molière was in his late forties he fell in love with Michel Baron and brought him home to live with him.  When the playwright’s wife protested Baron moved out till Molière ordered him back.  When his wife made an ultimatum that the playwright choose between her or Baron, Molière chose.  Three years later, when the Molière died, Michel Baron was at his side.
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“One should examine oneself for a very long time before thinking of condemning others” ~Molière

“The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.”  ~Molière

“I prefer an interesting vice to a virtue that bores”  ~Molière

“To live without loving is not really to live." ~ Molière

And knowing money is a root of evil, in Christian charity, he’d take away whatever things may hinder your salvation. ~ Molière
I assure you that a learned fool is more foolish than an ignorant fool. ~ Molière
Let us drink while we can, One cannot drink forever. ~ Molière
Of all the noises known to man, opera is the most expensive. ~ Molière
“Things only have the value that we give them”  ~Molière

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For silly fun, check out David Lehre’s humorous & satirical "Life & Times of Moliere" below:

Mid-Atlantic Men’s Gathering

1herm1_1This weekend I attended the Fall Gatherette of the Mid-Atlantic Men’s Gathering (MA-MG1herm4).   This is the Autumnal installment — a little smaller and less structured — of a larger Spring gathering that has been held in the Mid-Atlantic region for over 20 years.

It is now held at The Hermitage, an amazing intentional community built by two gay men in Central Pennsylvania.  These two caretakers have gathered, nay, rescued, historic buildings from the surrounding valleys of 1herm3_1this historic farming region. They have transported them to the site, lovingly rebuilt and preserved them for future generations. So, stepping on to the land, is like transporting oneself to a farmstead of two centu1herm5_1ries ago. 

The Gemeinehaus is the jewel in the crown, a Moravian  meeting house from the 1700s with its original stone hearth and circular staircases. It is a wonder to behold, a pleasure to walk through, and an experience to spend a night in.  The setting is rustic but the furnishings are all period and the experience is singular.

This Fall we had a dozen men, all gay,  who gathered to renew themselves on the land — far from the hum of electricity or the busyness of modern bother. 

1herm2_11hermI am always struck by the profundity of gay men gathering in nature to reconnect with one another.  It is too rare an occurence in our life and they stand as experiences of grounding one another in our nature as loving men. There were artists and novelists and cooks and all gentle souls who created a few days space for happiness with fellow travelers.

What other gatherings do people take part in around the country?  May you all experience many such weekends of easy joy.

Toby Johnson’s latest book reviewed in Washington Blade

Rvu_tobywalter2spiritsToby Johnson, White Crane‘s former publisher and current contributing editor, has recently written a book with Walter L. Williams titled Two Spirits: A Story of Life With the Navaho.  It recently received a very favorable review in the pages of the Washington Blade newspaper.

"gay authors Walter L. Williams and Toby Johnson deftly unveil the great histories of gay people as seen through the mythic and cultural expressions of the Navajo."

You can read Jesse Monteagudo’s review in the September issue of White Crane and you can purchase the book at Lambda Rising On Line or via Toby Johnson’s website at

Stephen Silha in the Journal

Wanted to give all of you a heads up about the amazing piece written by Stephen Silha on our journal pages. Stephen has written a great piece about the importance of creative partnerships between young and old:

"I’m convinced that without creative partnerships between elders and youth, we humans will self-destruct. It’s part of evolution’s call that we co-create our future."  Stephen Silha, "Culture Jamming"

Check it out!