I’m excited about Michael Moore’s new SICKO movie, and in the spirit of Gay Pride, I think it’s important to acknowledge our allies. Mr. Moore seems to me to be the balance to the homophobic Garrison Keillor. Check out how he deals with Kansas christo-fascist maniac, Fred Phelps. It is a little surprising to me how many attacks there are on Moore for "making a buck" on this. Just as with the Clinton sex scandal (as far as I’m concerned any President that doesn’t take us to war and eliminates the national debt while creating a surplus at the very least deserves a blow job every day!…I mean, hell, put Edwards in there and I’ll do it myself) I think people making the right arguments ought to be rewarded. And since when was it a crime to make a buck? If Michael Moore’s films aren’t "right livelihood" I don’t know what is.
Make Your Own Faery Wings!
With a few basic supplies and your own creative spirit, you can make your own faery wings just to flit around town! Follow the instructions below, or…just wing it! Remember: keep your wings on the small side to avoid snagging yourself on thistles (and other faeries) and make them nice & light so you don’t get a wingache. Take it easy on the faery dust. And be careful if you fly by night!
Supplies You’ll Need:
- 16-gauge galvanized steel wire (14 gauge for ‘high-tension’ wings)
between 6 – 9 feet, for two wings, depending on size of faery
- duct tape
- 1 pair queen-size pantyhose in any color (sheer and/or iridescent look really cool)
Note: Make sure the hose you are using are very stretchy. Don’t use support hose!
- Safety pins
- Needle and thread to match pantyhose
- Scissors (sharp enough to cut pantyhose)
- Magic markers in fairylike colors
- Things to decorate your wings! Glitter, feathers, flowers, fluff, lace, foil,
beads, fringe, pipe cleaners, small animals…
1. Make an armature for your wings.
Shape the length of wire into a figure 8, checking as you go to make sure the wings are the size you want and that both sides of the figure 8 are equal in size. Wrap a short (3") length of duct tape around the center join of the figure 8 to fix it firmly in place. If any wire ends are sticking out, trim them with the wire clippers, and cover the ends of the wire with duct tape so they don’t poke you in the back. Test the armature by tugging on it firmly; add more duct tape if needed.
2. Stretch the pantyhose over the armature and shape your wings.
Take the scissors and cut the pantyhose into three pieces: two legs and one "panty." Set the panty aside; it will become your wing halter. Now stretch one pantyhose leg over each side of your figure-8 armature. Pull it taut, but not so tight that it distorts the wings. Use safety pins to hold the pantyhose legs in place at the base of the wings, and shape your wings by bending the wire. Adjust the tension of the pantyhose as needed. When you’ve got the shape you want, sew the pantyhose in place at the base of the wings, and then trim off the excess hose (you can use it for additional decoration or to extend your halter ties, if needed).
3. Decorate your wings!
Using magic markers, draw in the basic lines of your wing design. Color your wings according to your fancy, or if you want, you can look through field guides of moths and butterflies to find a pattern you like. Embellish your wings with glitter, feathers, beads… whatever you desire!
4. Create a wing "halter" or ties.
Take the leftover panty, and cut out the crotch area (this will become the neck hole). You now have what looks like a very small tank top (A). For small children, this halter can simply be pulled over the head; larger folks will need to enlarge the holes and/or cut open the front of the halter (B). Some faeries prefer to do away with the halter altogether and instead use long ties that they wrap around their shoulders and torso (C). You can also use a double loop of elastic, one loop per shoulder.
5. Attach your wings to the halter (or ties).
Using needle and thread, securely attach your wings to the halter or ties. Now for the fun part — try them on! Use a hand mirror in front of a bigger mirror to see if the wings are sitting even on your shoulders (or ask a friend to check for you). If necessary, use needle & thread to adjust the wing placement, or adjust the ties until the wings are as straight as you want them.
6. Wear your wings to the May Day Festival!
You may, of course, want to wear them at other times: to parties, friends’ houses, job interviews, even the supermarket. You can also make faery antennae to complement your wings–why not!
(Sad-but-true disclaimer: faery wings do not enable the wearer to actually fly, at least as such action is defined within the realm of Newtonian physics. Flights of fancy are excepted from this disclaimer whether they adhere to Newtonian or quantum physics but we eschew any and all responsibility for any physical consequences of such flights — or physick required to remedy said consequences.)
Wing design ©1997 by Amy Grisham. Used with permission!
Thank you Amy!
Drawings © Amanda Sanow.
Pink has a few questions for the President…
The submission deadline for 2007 ONE IN TEN SCREENPLAY CONTEST is September 1, 2007. Entry forms are available online through the contest website: http://OneInTenScreenplayContest.com. Entry forms may also be obtained through the mail by sending a self addressed stamped envelope to:
CHERUB PRODUCTIONS One In Ten Screenplay Contest, PO Box 540, Boulder, Colorado 80306
Because of the move, this week, at the new, green Chicago Center on Halsted, the White Crane sponsored photography exhibit, Fellow Travelers: Liberation Portraits by Mark Thompson has been extended at the New York Lesbian, Gay Bisexual & Transgender Community center on 13th Street. If you haven’t seen this wonderful show of 15 black and white portraits of beautiful Gay men, by all means drop by the Center and take it in. The exhibit will be at the Center, 208 W. 13th Street for another two weeks.
And a fine time was had by all!
A roomful of readers, lovers and passers-by joined White Crane Institute at the New York City Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Community Center last night in celebrating the vision and wisdom of Mark Thompson’s Fellow Travelers: Liberation Portraits exhibit.
Mark came in from Los Angeles (we missed you Malcolm…feel better soon!) and was joined at the Center by fellow authors Gary Schmigdall (Walt Whitman: A Gay Life) Arnie Kantrowitz (Under the Rainbow), Joel Singer, whose late partner, James Broughton,
was among the many beautiful portraits. It is a very moving display of some of the most influential thinkers and artists in our movement.
The exhibit, which is touring LGBT Community Centers around the country over the next year under the auspices of White Crane Institute, is a stunning collection of 15 black and white portraits of some of the giants of the Gay wisdom, spirituality and culture movement. Planning is under way to bring the exhibit to Chicago and the brand new Center on Halsted … the Cleveland LGBT Community Center…and then Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Salt Lake City and Modesto, California. Watch for listings in your area.
In fact, this was to have been the closing reception for the show, but response has been so positive, that it is being held over for another two weeks at the Center on 13th Street.
Sometime in May, video of the show, and interviews with Bo Young and Mark Thompson about the Fellow Travelers photography show will be available on-line at Out at the Center, the NY LGBT Community Center cable television show, which is shown at various times on both Time-Warner Cable in Manhattan and Cablevision in Brooklyn.
For those of you who live in or near New York City, we wanted to give a
heads up announcement about this exhibit sponsored by White Crane Institute in collaboration with the New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center: Fellow Travelers: Liberation Portraits by our good friend, Mark Thompson.
We’re also happy to announce that Mark will be attending the closing reception next week on April 26th.
We hope to see you there.
When I was growing up I would have given anything to have had a relative who might have been, could have been…not discussed. That "funny uncle" whose name would immediately elicit a change of subject. I would have beat a path to his door and demanded answers, guidance…the protection only family can offer. Instead, as soon as I was able, I high-tailed it to the West Coast (I’d always had crushes on surfers) and San Francisco, under the pretense of accepting a "job opportunity." Somehow I managed to survive the early 70s in S.F.and find a semblance of "Gay identity" in the process without succumbing to drugs and the street. Many of us are not so lucky, and every time I see a news story about some young person’s suicide, my first supposition is "Gay."
This, of course, is an oft-told tale. Escape from the middle west, the deep south, the constraints of whoever you are, wherever you grew up to a place where anonymity promises opportunity to define self. Gay self. This is the basis of a new play by playwright Dean Gray, Uncle, playing for a maddingly brief run at the ArcLight Theater on the Upper West Side in NYC. Gray’s name may be famliar to some readers as the playwright behind the adaptation of Will Fellows’ fine anthology of oral histories titled Farm Boys: Lives of Gay Men from the Rural Midwest. Fellows has gone on to write Passion to Preserve: Gay Men as Keepers of Culture. While Uncle is not another Fellows-based piece it is in the same vein…midwest roots.
Uncle is fine piece of stage work by a talented playwright who readily admits to putting much of himself up there on the stage. The protagonist, Brent (played handsomely by Brian Patacca) is from rural Wisconsin. Now living in New York City, pursuing a composing career, his psyche is perilously on the edge…the first scenes, wordlessly show him alone, and suicidal despite having achieved what, by any standards in the NY music scene, would be considered "success." As Brent explains to his mother, Iris (played lovingly by actress Nancy McDoniel, most recently seen in the 9/11 film, United 93) he’s "tired of being alone."
He’s not alone anymore, and hasn’t really been alone for some time. First, there’s the handsome and sweet Sean, (actor James Heatherly) working in the Lincoln Center Performing Arts Library, who is immediately smitten with Brent and drawn into his intensity. But Brent’s other constant companion is the ghost of his long dead Uncle Irvin (actor Darren Lougee) that uncle that no one spoke of, and when they did, someone changed the subject. Finding a snapshot of his Uncle Irvin (that, in this production, is actually of the playwright’s own family), on one more "good-son" journey home to Wisconsin, he questions his mother about the other man in the picture, the one wearing the matching sweater to Uncle Irvin’s. Mom plays dumb and changes the subject to cheese.
Surprisingly spare, the play is, in the end, moving and sweet without cloying. There are ghosts and flashbacks. There are moments in which Gray comes perilously close to "sending a message," and there are some close-to-soap-opera moments, but he dodges these (for me) cringe-inducing pitfalls with well-drawn, human characters…characters we’ve all known or been at one point or another in our lives as Gay people. My partner and I were crying at the end…and they were tears Gray earned honestly. And I hasten to add, they were not the tears of another Brokeback "dead queer" at the end of a morality tale, but tears of reconciliation and the power of love and family. Nor, I might add, is there gratuitous parading of half-dressed handsome men. For those of us for whom this is kind of exposure is important, or at least desirable, yes, shirts and pants are removed. But I’d have to say the sexiest moments are fully clothed and simply sealed with a kiss. Sometimes less really is more.
Speaking with playwright Dean Gray, this morning, he tells me his next project is another adaptation of a book titled Gay Bar. He’s not really interested, he says, in being tagged as "a gay issues playwright," and I sympathize…but then again, you write what you know. He spoke of his aging parents, something we all come to terms with at some stage of life…but something that takes on even more weight in the lives of many gay men, either because we’re estranged from family or, as is more often the case, and less often acknowledged, the "good sons and daughters" who take on the burdens of aging parents when heterosexual siblings are otherwise engaged with their own children and their own families.
All too often…and all too often at the hands of our own media…GLBT people are portrayed as care-free with plenty of surplus income for disposal on fashion and style and travel. Tra-fucking-lah!
I may have known one or two gay men like that in my life, but by and large most GLBT people I know are hard-working, just trying to get by and, at the same time, frequently the people who are most involved in taking care of family matters. I’m far from being a proponent of "we’re just like straight people, except for what we do in bed" but the fact of the matter is, this is sadly NOT the image we see of most GLBT people and it is the one I find most common in my own experience…family is important to us. In fact, family is probably THE critical consideration in most GLBT people’s lives when thinking about coming out. [Memo to Oprah…next time you sit there wide-eyed and clutching your fucking pearls, trying to find out why some Gay man would "lie" to people he loves, please remember that unlike Gay people, black folk were never in any danger of losing the love of family because of race. Neither is being African-American reviled as an abomination in the eyes of god. Nor is there the state-sanctioned pressure to become White. Please…you’ve got a joint checking account with god now, Oprah…buy a clue.]
Anyway, for my own part, as I prepared to come out, I finally had to reach the place where I had to prepare myself for the chance…even the probability I thought…that I might actually never see my family again once I came out. While that wasn’t the case, the strain and estrangement with my own family went on for decades. I don’t think this is unusual. Dean Gray has put it on stage in Uncle and it is well worth seeing. As this production will only be there for a short run, we can only urge readers to watch for more from Dean Gray. It’s a nice antidote to Queer Eye. Or at least some much-needed balance.
“To Be Loved”
I had been intrigued about seeing “To Be Loved,” the play by Alex DeFazio at the tiny Chashama Theater on East 42nd Street because the drama is based on a famous kabuki spectacle, “The Scarlet Princess of Edo,” from 1813, and I had been fortunate to see the Grand Kabuki of Tokyo perform it on one of their once-a-decade tours of America in 1986. I remember the Grand Kabuki very well; it was headlined by Tamasaburo Bando IV, perhaps the world’s greatest inagaka actor, a kabuki term for a man who specializes in female roles, and “The Scarlet Princess,” at tale of karma, reincarnation, and the eternality of love, is a tour de force for inagaka: a priest and a young acolyte, in love in a monastery, are forced to commit suicide when their forbidden love is discovered. In the next generation, the reincarnated priest discovers his lover in a young, virginal girl and pursues her, only tragically to lose her. The actors have to show that they have other characters inside the characters they are portraying, with maleness inside femaleness; in fact, in kabuki tradition, maleness inside femaleness inside more maleness. Quite an order. In “To Be Loved,” a similar tale is told, set in a post-Apocalyptic world after the bombs have gone off (we’re never quite sure which bombs), centered on an older priest’s love for a young student who kills himself by jumping off a cliff (the same method used in the “Scarlet Princess”) leaving the priest, twisted by guilt, to depart the priesthood and try to go “straight.”
Straight means that he, Seigen, played ably by Albert Aeed, will bed Dorian, wildly acted by Kelly Marcus, the filthy rich daughter of a bomb-making, omni-horny privateer, who is oft alluded to but not seen in the play. Dorian is man-hungry, and has a boy-toy of sorts in the gorgeous shape of Dis, Bobby Abid, a Stanley Kowalski-type (but sexually dysfunctional) hunk who is also a pimp for Anon, a young whore of a certain androgyny. So, of course you can see what will happen: Seigen will discover the lost soul of Paul, the boy, in the personality of Anon, who, played by Elizabeth Sugarman, is a pivotal character in the action; she is sensitive, tough, wily, vulnerable, and goes through the gamut of bondage and liberation, but, alas, is never really allowed to be really androgynous. In fact, it is hinted that she is hermaphroditic, although I can’t understand why, as a $20-whore, she is so popular and nobody knows what’s really “down there.” You’d think that at a certain point the equipment would come out; and with better direction, Anon’s undeniable, androgynous attractiveness would have been more evident. She is a Garbo-esque femme-fatale in a brutal world where technology has broken down, violence is everywhere, and human connections are barely tenable. (I know, you’re asking what else is new?) As a character, she could be a stunner, and I don’t think it’s Sugarman’s fault that it’s not happening here, because she’s an interesting actress.
What I liked about “To Be Loved” was that it held to some kabuki elements in its crazy-future setting: the costumes, which were inventive, especially Anon’s ratty kimono and Dis’s deliciously cartoony body armor, reflected this; also the use of red silk scarves to denote blood: very Grand Kabuki. Also the acting tended to be stylized, and the use of loud snapping sounds and other tonal devices were Eastern. Where the play soured was the author’s use of portentous speeches; the plot, or what was trying to be the plot, became so elliptical that at points in the first act I, and a lot of the audience, was lost. The first act could haven been trimmed by 20 minutes; the second, though, came together better, was easier to follow, and shows us that in the drear future, money will trump passion all the time: or, duh?, did I miss out on the last six episodes of “The Bachelor”?
Albert Aeed as Seigen is a fairly Ted Haggard character: all lust, prohibitions, inhibitions, guilt, and meanness. But he is redeemed, sadly enough, by his own true heart, seeking Paul, the Ganymede-like boy he pushed earlier out of his life to suicide, then finally finding him. This is a play about the worship of strange beauty, something I am thrilled with, and Chashama kept much of that intact. The tiny theater backs on to a plate glass store-front window on 42nd Street; the stage’s rear black-out curtains are opened at moments in the action, and life in New York pulses in. Strange beauty, always.
To Be Loved will be performed at Chashama, 217 East 42nd Street, until Dec. 23rd. For more information: www.elixirproductions.org
Last night my boyfriend and I had the luck to notice that the Pedro Almodovar film "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" was playing at the AFI Silver Theater in Washington, D.C. (well, Silver Spring, Maryland, but it’s close enough). When we got there we saw that this was just the beginning of something much more exciting.
Viva Pedro is a retrospective re-release of eight classic films by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, all leading up to the U.S. release of his latest film "Volver" opening on November 3rd.
Selected theaters around the country will be showing these movies, and copies of the VHS and DVD’s have been pulled from store shelves until the series is over. The selections include: "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," "Talk to Her," "All About My Mother," "Live Flesh," "The Flower of My Secret," "Law of Desire," "Bad Education," and "Matador."
Now I hadn’t seen "Women on the Verge" in like 10 years, and it was a very different experience watching it on video then and seeing it in the theater now. For one, I was only 20 when I saw the film and being young and naive camp humor was pretty much lost on me. No longer! Oh my god, it was a RIOT in that theater! The credits alone had my gay heart singing with glee. But the scenes themselves were just beyond compare. Pepa setting fire to the bed and putting it out with the garden hose with the look of joy and hate in her eyes, the girlfriend who had a fling with terrorists and was running from the law, the psycho wife with two revolvers in her handbag, the closeup shots of high heel shoes walking on marble, doing voice dubs for Joan Crawford movies… I mean the list goes on and on and on. It was a great experience, and if you have the chance to go out and see one of these movies, please, do yourself a favor and go!