Category Archives: Friends

On the Occasion of the Pope Coming to Town

Many interesting things come over our transom…this from the esteemed John J. McNeill, on the arrival of Joseph "God’s Rottweiller" Ratzinger (wasn’t this guy on Cheers?) on our shores (traveling under his nom de power "Pope Benedict XVI"):

Toward a Theology of Fallibility

Ratzinger_2When Pope Benedict comes to Ground Zero in New York City he will be greeted byMychaljudgepieta_2 a giant banner with a painting of Michael Judge, the Gay Franciscan priest, whose life is recorded in the documentary, Saint of 9/11. That banner signifies the ambiguous state of many Gay, Lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Catholics toward the Pope. We share the respect and love of the Catholic community for the Vicar of Christ and wish him well. At the same time we are profoundly aware of how wrong he is in his understanding and judgment on Gayness as “intrinsic disorder”. We are deeply conscious that we cannot accept and live out his teaching on homosexuality without destroying our mental and spiritual health. What is bad psychology has to be bad theology. We find ourselves in the same position as children of a homophobic parent, who, while still loving their parent, must separate off and take distance from that parent’s homophobia, if they are to live happy and healthy lives.

We Roman Catholic Gays have found it necessary to undergo the same maturing process in our spiritual lives that Jesus asked his disciples to undergo at the last supper. “I shall ask the Father and he will send you another Paraclete to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth.” (John 14: 16-17) Jesus stressed the point that it was necessary that he should go away in order for the Spirit to come. “Yet you are sad at heart because I have told you this. Still, I am telling you the truth; it is for your own good that I am going, because unless I go, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go. I will send him to you….However, when the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you to the complete truth.” (John 16: 6-13)

Why could the Spirit of Truth only come after Jesus’ death? Because as long as Jesus remained alive and present, his disciples had their center of authority outside themselves and were not totally responsible for their actions. They were striving to meet the expectations of a provident leader. They had not yet become fully creative and responsible adults. But after Jesus’ death, his Spirit became what Paul saw as the source of the “Glorious Freedom of the Children of God”. “The proof that you are sons and daughters is that God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts: the Spirit that cries, ‘Abba’, Father; and it is this that makes you a son or daughter, you are not a slave anymore’. Pagans were not free but slaves in relation to their gods because they related to their gods in a spirit of fear. John tells us “Perfect love cast out all fear. It is equally true that perfect fear casts out all love.” Christians are free because their God is a God of love who had adopted them into his family. “All who are guided by the Spirit of God are sons or daughters of God, for what you have received was not the spirit of slavery, to bring you back into fear, you have received the Spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry out Abba, Father.” (Rom. 8:14-17)

With the death of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit, the apostles received a challenge as well as an opportunity to mature. As Paul expressed it, “…until we all reach unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God and form the perfect human, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself.” (Eph. 4:13). The apostles had to give up the security of a provident leader; they had to begin to find out what God wanted from them from within themselves and their own experience.

In like manner, in our spiritual life, we Roman Catholic Gay people must pass from a passive, dependent role to an active, creative one. For our survival we have a special need to become mature, self-motivated, autonomous people, no longer dependent on outside homophobic sources for a sense of our identity and well-being. We must not let our enemies outside ourselves define us; we must let the Spirit of love that dwells within our hearts define us. As the Catholic philosopher Maurice Blondel expressed it: “Our God dwells within us and the only way we can become one with that God is to become one with our authentic self”.

It is this understanding of the role of the indwelling Holy Spirit that gives me great consolation during these times when the Catholic Church reacts to its Gay members in ignorance and even downright hostility. We Gays should be grateful to God for creating a humanly fallible Church. We are intensely aware that if our parents had been infallible we could never have matured and become autonomous and responsible adults. God blessed us with finite and fallible parents. It was precisely when and where our parents proved fallible that we were challenged to take distance from their authority, make our own choices and be fully responsible for them.

In a similar way, as Gay Roman Catholics we are dependent on the human fallibility of religious authorities in order to develop an adult freedom of conscience. I believe that we are witnessing the coming into being of what I call the Church of the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit. After forty years of ministry with Lesbian and Gay persons, as both priest and psychotherapist, I am convinced that a unique spirituality, special and vibrant, is springing up in the Christian Gay community. It is spirituality totally compatible with a life of Gay sexual love and intimacy. As scripture says “the stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. (Mark 12:18) Gays are leading the way to form a spiritual community based on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s special presence in the Gay Christian community and the unique graces which are enabling Lesbians and Gays to build a mature, autonomous spiritual life are not just gifts meant for the Gay Christian community alone. When God pours out special blessings on one segment of the community, those blessings are meant to flow out and be shared by the human community at large.

Brendan_faye The Church of the Holy Spirit will be a Church in which all are equal, no hierarchy, no clergy as a separate caste, no domination of men over women. Leadership in the Church of the Holy Spirit will be based on careful listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying through the people of God. A recent event makes me believe that God is working overtime to bring about the transformation of the Catholic Church into the Church of the Holy Spirit. President Lech Kaczynski of Poland in a March 17 televised speech to the nation, echoing the Vatican position, warned that the adoption of the European Lisbon Treaty would compel Poland to recognize same-sex marriages, which he linked to the end of “moral order”. To make his point the president used footage of the 2003 wedding of Brendan Fay and Tom Moulton in Canada. As a result of that speech a media frenzy moved Brendan and Tom out of obscurity and they became world famous. Brendan and Tom are devout Gay Roman Catholics who see their marriage as a sacred bond blessed by God. The Holy Spirit is ultimately in charge of the Church and will transform it so that it becomes one with the realm of God. We who are Gay and Catholic pray daily that the hierarchy will hear what the Spirit is saying through the people of God and cooperate with the Spirit’s transformation of the Church.

John J. McNeill John J. McNeill, author of The Church and The Homosexual, Taking A Chance on God, Freedom, Glorious Freedom, and Both Feet Planted Firmly in Midair. The Reverend McNeill can be reached at

What kind of Gay man are you…?

Because we publish both this blog and the "hard copy" magazine, White Crane, we get on a lot of press lists for various publicists in the entertainment, publishing, recording and fashion business. The sheer stereotypical nature of the kinds of press releases we receive is stunning, really. The only metric that seems to make any difference whatsoever to whoever is sending out the press releases is that they see the word "gay" somewhere in the search, and their feeble little minds automatically assume "fashion" "sex" "consumers" "vacuous dance music" and the most superficial kind of idea of "beauty" imaginable. In fact, using any variation of the term "imagination" in the same sentence is a stretch. Actually having looked at a copy of the magazine, or exploring our website to determine something of what our interests might be seems to be too much to ask.

Fellow_travelers_book_coverThis morning was a perfect example of the stark dichotomy of choices with which we are presented virtually every day. In yesterday’s mail we received the first run of Mark Thompson’s newest book, a beautiful book of his own photography. More on this in a moment.

[Full disclosure: White Crane Institute helped with the production of this book, and we have been sponsoring a touring exhibit of some of the photography in the book, providing it to LGBT communities around the country.]

We were also in receipt of a press release…the second one, now…about some pretty boy cranking out monotonous "dance music" (I love to dance, but what passes for ‘dance music’ these days is, quite simply pathetic.) Shirt open to his six pack, sexuality ambiguously alluded (I’m not big on "sexual allusion" myself…Rosie O’Donnell "alluded" to Tom Cruise for years…and that’s just too weird for words).

Anyway, silly me, I decided to give it a listen, since the publicist (a little more full disclosure here…yours truly was a publicist in the music industry, and a band manager at one point, no less…so I have a soft spot in my heart — not my head, though — for music publicists, and artist trying to break into the biz) had gone to the trouble to send a MP3 file.

The lyrics say it all: Hey…you remember when / I read your mind? / Thoughts of you run through my George  head / and make me want to touch myself / The odds are so right / I know you know I’m the special one…Let’s make love like / we’re strangers…

Like strangers. Wow. Great. With HIV/AIDS making a comeback like it’s a viral Taliban, I hope they use a condom. What a great musical message to put out to young Gay men…a population that is seeing a significant uptick in sero-conversion, we should note. What really burns my admittedly senior citizen ass is the marketing of this cookie-cutter pretty boy, all pumped and smooth like every other cookie-cutter pretty boy, draped in female flesh (used like skin props) and expecting that just because this fellow is (debatably) a) young and b) attractive, that every red-blooded Gay man is going to run right out and buy his drivel music because he has digital abs. Let’s be clear here: his voice is unremarkable. The music is indistinguishable from any other cut on just about any other current "dance music" disc. There is nothing about this–and I use the term very loosely here–"singer" that recommends him other than his shaved body. If you like that sort of thing.

Look at the photos accompanying this post…one is the cover of Mark’s book, Fellow Travelers: Guides & Tribes [Fluxion Editions, 2008] and "the Stranger" with the models who are so weak from hunger they have to lean on him for support. Tell me…which huddle would you want to be in? You want to "make love like we’re strangers," like this bimbo (I really think "bimbo" ought to be the male version and "bimba" the female) suggests? So OK…maybe you don’t want to get all muddy…but those are definitely not "strangers" in that picture. You might actually connect with someone…your own self, for instance… your own history as a queer, like Mark Thompson is documenting in his beautiful book Fellow Travelers?

I hesitated to even talk about the singer, who shall remain anonymous here. Why give shallow exploitative product placement any kind of publicity at all? But the contrast between this dreck, and Mark Thompson’s new book was so dramatic to me, I thought they ought to be thrown into contrast. Mark’s Fellow Travelers book is available in limited edition at

The empty nutrition of the mess of potage with the six-pack is available…anywhere. In a word: feh.

The Passing of a Poet

Williams From our friend Jeffery Beam…

Jonathan Williams, 79, Avant-garde Poet, Publisher, and Photographer

By Jeffery Beam

Poet, publisher, and photographer Jonathan Chamberlain Williams, founder of The Jargon Society press, one of the most renowned small presses of the last half of the twentieth century, and champion and publisher of some of the most important mid and late century poets in the United States and England, died on March 16, 2008 in Highlands, North Carolina. The cause is not known at this time. Williams, 79, began his avant-garde press while a student at the Chicago Institute of Design, naming it "Jargon" not only for its meaning of personal idiom, but after the French spring pear, "jargonelle" and the French "jargon," meaning the twittering of birds.

The only child of the late Thomas Benjamin and Georgette (Chamberlain) Williams, Williams was born on March 8, 1929 in Asheville, North Carolina, grew up in the District of Columbia and spent summers at the family’s North Carolina mountain home. His father, who designed office systems for government contracts in Washington, grew up in Hendersonville, North Carolina; his mother, a gifted decorator, was the daughter of a successful banker in Atlanta, growing up there and on the ancestral farm near Cartersville, Georgia.

Williams’ interests and talents, revealed him as a Renaissance man – publisher; poet and satirist; book designer; editor; photographer; legendary correspondent; literary, art, and photography critic and collector; early collector and proselytizer of visionary folk art; cultural anthropologist; curmudgeon; happy gardener; resolute walker; and keen and adroit raconteur and gourmand. Williams’ refined decorum and speech, and sartorial style, contrasted sharply, yet pleasingly, with his delight in the bawdy, his incisive humor, and his confidently experimental and inventive poems and prose. His interests, in his own words, raised, "the common to grace," while paying "close attention to the earthy." At the forefront of the avant-garde, and yet possessing a deep appreciation of the traditional, Williams celebrated, rescued, and preserved, as he described it, "more and more away from the High Art of the city" settling "for what I could unearth and respect in the tall grass."

Despite numerous awards and honorary degrees including a Guggenheim, numerous National Endowment Fellowships, and a Longview Foundation Grant, Williams was never sufficiently acknowledged for his achievements as a poet or prose stylist by the writing establishment, nor for his press’s generosity toward artists from all walks of life. His southern Appalachian origins created in him a deep sympathy for the underdog, for society’s throwaways, and for the unbridled creativity of the outsider. He unapologetically celebrated his gay identity long before it was fashionable. By the Reagan years he began to object even more vigorously to the failure of American democracy and education. Williams’ concerns about threats to the natural world; the loss of a humane and well-mannered society; and his distaste for hypocrisy in government, religion and the arts; made for vivid poetry, prose, and conversation, and informed his choices as a publisher. Known for his irascibility and opinions, he once stated (quoting Henry Miller paraphrasing Celine), "one of the things Jargon is devoted to is an attack on urban culture. We piss on it all from a considerable height."

Nevertheless, acclaim came despite the poetry world’s general indifference. Buckminster Fuller once called Williams "our Johnny Appleseed," Guy Davenport described him as a "kind of polytechnic institute," while Hugh Kenner hailed Jargon as "the Custodian of Snowflakes" and Williams as "the truffle-hound of American poetry." Williams held a number of poet-in-residencies early in his career. The Maryland Institute College of the Arts honored him in 1969 with a Doctor of Humane Letters, and in 1974 he received the "Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels" for services to the arts in Kentucky. Publishers Weekly awarded the press its Carey-Thomas Citation for creative small-press publishing in 1977; in the same year Williams received the North Carolina Award in Fine Arts. Williams joined a handful of other poets to read at the Carter Administration’s White House Poetry Day event in 1980. In 1998 Williams was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. Distinguished Houghton Mifflin Editor Peter Davison stated in 1990, "a sensible society would set up a permanent outsize subsidy for…Williams and let him go to whatever his hand fell upon…Jargon is still searching out astonishments; it is one of the irreplaceable American small-press institutions."

Williams began his education at Washington’s Cathedral School at St. Albans, entering Princeton in 1947 where he soon found the academic track stifling. He wrote in a 1984 self-interview, "I clearly did not want to become a Byzantinist in the basement of The Morgan Library; or an art critic for The New Yorker; nor did I want to live in the world of competitive business." Escape, much to his parents’ dismay, was inevitable and leaving Princeton in his sophomore year he studied painting at the Washington’s Phillips Gallery with Karl Knaths, later joining Bill Hayter’s Atelier 17 in Greenwich Village to study etching, engraving, and printmaking.

Williams’ interest in photography and bookmaking led him eventually to the Chicago Institute of Design. Here, again, Jonathan found the commercial focus too confining, and his interest in photography deepened. Photographer Harry Callahan, a professor at the school, unable to allow a lower-classman into his seminars, suggested that Williams go to Black Mountain College in the summer of 1951 to study with him and Aaron Siskind. Before leaving for Black Mountain, Williams set off for California to meet with Kenneth Rexroth, Henry Miller, and Kenneth Patchen, all with whom he had been corresponding. Their enthusiasms for the enhancement of words through visual dimensions, and Black Mountain’s principles of learning by doing and the tactile importance of art, were to play an important role in the development of Williams’ aesthetic principles as a poet, photographer, publisher, collector, and critic. 

Jargon and Williams came to life at Black Mountain where Williams, under the tutelage of rector poet Charles Olson, began writing more of his own poetry. Olson hired his talented student to be the college publisher. Ultimately Jargon, along with New Directions, Grove, and City Lights became one of the four most famous small presses of a burgeoning 1960s movement that continues not only on the printed page, but today, even on the Internet. Jargon’s books, in particular, became collectibles, setting the standard for the small press, and were widely praised for their meticulous beauty and refined craft, and for Williams’ ability to discover new and important talent. In the late 1950s, the 1960s and 1970s Williams was known for filling his Volkswagen Beetle with books and traversing the country, selling books out of the back seat, giving readings, and spreading the word about the many writers and artists he had come to know.

Writers and artists, nurtured by Jargon, number in the hundreds. Many of their careers began or blossomed under Williams’ and Jargon’s patronship, including American authors James Broughton, Robert Creeley, Guy Davenport, Robert Duncan, Russell Edson, Buckminster Fuller, Ronald Johnson, Denise Levertov, Mina Loy, Paul Metcalf, Lorine Niedecker, Charles Olson, Joel Oppenheimer, and Louis Zukofsky; photographers Lyle Bongé, Elizabeth Matheson, John Menapace, Mark Steinmetz, and Doris Ullman; British poets Basil Bunting, Thomas A. Clark, Simon Cutts, and Ian Hamilton Finlay; and bookmakers Jonathan Greene, Doyle Moore, and Keith Smith. Some of the artists and photographers who contributed visually to Jargon designs include Harry Callahan, John Furnival, David Hockney, R. B. Kitaj, James McGarrell, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Guy Mendes, Robert Rauschenberg, and Art Sinsabaugh. Thornton Dial, St. EOM, Georgia Blizzard, Howard Finster, Annie Hooper, and James Harold Jennings, are just a few of the visionary folk artists whom Williams began to champion in the 1980s, and whose work is represented in his outstanding personal collection of outsider art, in his essays about visionary art, and his yet unpublished monograph Walks to the Paradise Garden. One Jargon title, Ernie Matthew Mickler’s White Trash Cooking, took America by storm appearing on the New York Times bestseller list, with major interviews and reviews in the national media, standing alone as the book which temporarily made Jargon a household name.

The Jargon Society archives, containing personal papers as well as press materials, rest at the Poetry/Rare Books Collection‒SUNY at Buffalo. Williams’ correspondents were legion. In his letters, no less than in his poetry and essays, Williams—who was known to write under various noms de plume such as Lord Stodge, Big Enis, Colonel Williams, and Lord Nose—held court, preaching the art gospel with his usual flair. He was fond of quoting Robert Duncan, "Responsibility is to keep the ability to respond." Yale University recently purchased Williams’ personal photographic archive, including his uncommon portraits of poets, painters, writers, and artists – major works documenting Black Mountain College and Williams’ peripatetic wanderings across America and Europe. His letters, negatives, and photographic prints alone will provide bountiful insight into 20th century culture, history, sensibility, and community.

Celebrated as a Black Mountain Poet, Williams’ work argues the primary importance of imagination as a foil to ignorance, and pinpoints ignorance (whether in the arts, civic or personal realms) as the source of cultural blight. As a poet he has been described as a cross between Martial, Socrates, Basho, Tu Fu, and Richard Pryor. Experimental and open in form, the symbiotic relationship between music and poetic composition and the possibilities of beauty found in the high and low, the ribald and the erudite, the metaphysical and the concrete, set his writing apart as audaciously original. Oftentimes expressed through word-play, found poems, paeans to pastoral significance, and rails against contemporary despoliation, the poems and essays draw on a wide range of subjects and themes including politics; jokes; local speech and customs; classical music and jazz; and visionary, photographic, and abstract art. In them Mahler, Bruckner, Delius, Ives, Satie, Samuel Palmer, and William Blake commune with Mae West, Jelly Roll Morton, Thelonius Monk, Frederick Sommer, and Richard Diebenkorn. Articulated through an unconventional synesthetic panache, commanding musical economy, and vinegary wit, they demand attention to, rather than carelessness toward, ecological guardianship of the arts, nature, and local traditions. His works of local speech equally capture the unpretentious nuances of country vernacular and the refinement of the “aristocracy,” as well as the sometimes dumb misapprehensions of each.

Williams’ over one hundred works, published by many of the most important small presses in this country and Britain, exemplified his playful blend of polish and earthiness, and revealed his massive and impressive circle of friends.  Williams seems to have known practically everyone of consequence in early and mid-twentieth century American alternative arts. An Ear In Bartram’s Tree (1969, University of North Carolina) and Blues & Roots/Rue & Bluets (1971, Grossman; 1985, Duke University) demonstrate his sensitivity to the nuances of language and the simple charms of Appalachian and White Trash culture. Quote, Unquote (1989, Ten Speed Press) was one of many editions of Williams’ astonishing accumulations of revelatory quotations discovered in his wide reading. A Palpable Elysium: Portraits of Genius and Solitude (2002, David Godine) offers a select view of Williams’ photographs of unique people and places accompanied by pithy, revealing mini-essays. The Magpie’s Bagpipe (1982, North Point) and Blackbird Dust (2000, Turtle Point) collect spicy essays on artists and culture.  Jubilant Thicket: New and Selected Poems (2005, Copper Canyon) contains a selection of over 1000 of Williams’ poems.

Williams and his partner of forty years, Poet Thomas Meyer, lived since the early 1970s in a seventeenth century shepherd’s cottage in the English Cumbrian hills in the summer and at the Scaly Mountain home near Highlands in the winter. For the past decade they have resided mostly at Skywinding Farm, in Scaly. Williams is survived by Meyer, their beloved ginger-cat H-B, and numerous devoted friends and supporters. In the Appalachian poem "Epitaphs for Two Neighbors in Macon County No Poet Could Forget" Williams captures Uncle Iv Owens. It seems a fitting epitaph, too, for this remarkable man of American letters, Jonathan Williams:

                                    he done

                                    what he could

                                    when he got round

                                    to it

Beebo Is Back!

Beebo_brinker BEEBO BRINKER!…in the form of the Beebo Brinker Chronicles, a wonderfully realized play by Kate Moira Ryan and Linda Chapman based on the estimable Ann Bannon‘s series of books (who. by the by, will be honored along with Malcolm Boyd and Mark Thompson at the Lammies this May in Los Angeles) …IS BACK!

That’s the good news. The bad news is it’s only around for ten weeks and this time it is live on stage at the 37 Arts Theater, 450 West 37th Street. Tickets are available here. Or you can call 212-307-4100 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

This is a delicious evening of theater and LGBT history all rolled into fantastic performances and beautiful bodies. 01big_2 It’s sexy smart and fun. You may recall we wrote about this when we first saw it last October. Since then it’s been nominated for a GLAAD award.

All I can say is…nothing’s changed…it’s just gotten better!

The Restless Yearning Towards My Self

SUNDAY MARCH 16, 2008 @ 3PM
Announcing the World Premiere of

The restless yearning

towards my Self

A Musical Collaboration
and a Transformative Work in Healing the Heart

“I see it as I am rowing on the dark waters

towards a rock, large and bright—like a moon,

rigged, distant, rising at the end.
It is that marker, moorage, beckoning;
I dreamed of it in the cold, my body rolled,

amphibian-soft, primitive as defense….”

from The Restless Yearning Towards My Self, Perry Brass.

Most people take many detours in the course of their lives, as they follow their goals and ambitions, often finding themselves detracted by a confusion of byways and misleading directions.

But at the center of their actions (and themselves), lies a psychic/emotional core, that they often lose sight of but the loss of which leaves them with an almost indelible sense of its absence. So, instead of re-discovering this core, they erect “impostors,” stand-ins for their real selves: bright, glowing public figures, of significance, certainly, to them and much of the outside world—while the real “Self,” that almost physical realization of the inner soul, still waits, until some moment of starkest Self recognition, which brings with it an almost uncontainable feeling of contentment and a much longed for, blessed unity.
“The restless yearning towards my Self” is about realizing this search, and finally achieving its goal, when the Self after years of denial recognizes and claims you; when the deepest part of you speaks to you, and offers you that genuine feeling of achievement and unity most of us seek. It is this great recognition that in many ways powers the most lasting of the Arts, and we have brought to life once more this recognition of the Self by merging the text of a starkly moving poem by poet/novelist Perry Brass (“The restless yearning towards my Self”) to music by opera composer Paula M. Kimper, scored for counter-tenor and string quartet.

This premiere will be part of


mimi stern-wolfe, artistic director
St Marks in the Bowery  10th street and 2nd avenue
Restless Yearning will feature counter tenor Marshall Coid, and a string quartet. This piece lasts approximately 26 minutes.
Also on this program will be MADELEINE DRING (Trio for oboe, flute & piano); MARY CAROL WARWICK (premiere) (Viola Sonata); (Song: (Imagination) (Ilsa Gilbert ) Dan Strba (vla);  & Mimi Stern-Wolfe, piano.
MEIRA WARSHAUER (Aecha)  with Downtown Chamber Trio  A. Bolotowsky, fl;; Jeffrey  Hale, oboe; LAURA WOLFE, vocals and guitar with DAVE EGGAR:, cello; (Original songs); MIRA SPEKTOR, (Turn Around) ;Songs:  Maeve Hoglund, soprano.
Suggested donation: $10, 15;  information:;;; 212 477 1594

Be Aware. Be Alert. Be Well.

Aesclepius_and_his_cadeusis A lot of people are sending us the Lawrence K. Altman article in the NY Times about a new MRSA-related bacterial infection. The S.F. Chronicle is doing its usual sensationalized coverage, as well.

This is why White Crane has a regular columnist, Nurse Daisy (aka Jeff Huyett) who writes the Owner’s Manual health column (it’s also why White Crane sponsors the Gay Men’s Health Leadership Academy.)

I’ve asked Daisy about this. Here’s the general sense of it from Daisy’s professional perspective:

I deal with one to two MRSA abscesses a week in my work as a nurse. Some ain’t so bad, some are so large a patient risks losing a limb or an ear.

The media almost always sensationalizes Gay health issues. Who’s suprised! But, there is an important kernel of worry that should be attended to. These infections can be really nasty and tend to grow really fast. Thus, "waiting to see how it looks tomorrow" can be the difference between a few minutes of inconvenience and losing a chunk of your nose to this serious bacteria. Gay press often isn’t much better in helping us sort health concerns presented in the press.

Too often, queers have shame and guilt connected to their health issues and may delay having something assessed. These articles further stigmatize our sex and our people. But you should be alarmed at this health issue. Treatment for MRSA should not be delayed. If you have a big pus ball larger than a grape, it
almost assuredly needs to be drained to slow the infection spread.

Here are my suggestions:

     1. Take good care of your skin inside and out. Drink plenty of water, moisturize your skin, consider humidity in your apartment if it’s dry.

     2. If you’ve been a greasy pig over the weekend and had lots of sex with lots of people, wash with soap and water, moisturize, monitor. Nurses aren’t too keen on frequent anti-bacterial soaps.

     3. MRSA’S start like a painful, small pimple and within 48 hours can grow into a huge pus ball. If you think you have a MRSA starting, use hot compresses to soak the area to improve circulation. Apply mupirocin (Bactroban) twice a day. I’ve seen some help with Tea Tree Oil

     4. Seek help if one of these blossoms and becomes large. There are antibiotics that typically work but one needs to be aware to cover for MRSA and not garden-variety skin infections.

     5. If you get an abscess, make sure your provider tests for MRSA if possible.

Take care of each other by mentioning health issues that someone may be letting slide. Sometimes our emotional health prevents us from activating or our drug use dulls our response time. MRSA is one thing that requires some quick thinking.

[The image is Asclepius with his rod, which not a "caduceus," but an ancient Greek symbol associated with astrology and with healing the sick through medicine. "Asclepius’ rod" consists of a single serpent entwined around a staff. Asclepius, the son of Apollo, was practitioner of medicine in ancient Greek medicine.]

An addition to the household…

So….Happy new year to all of you. We all took a little time off over the holidaze. Traveled a bit. Saw friends and family. Not all of them, but most of them and it was nice. When an operation like White Crane is basically done by two of us, it helps a lot to take a little time off every now and then.

NsallogoAnd then, just after New Year’s, my partner Bill and I decided to take a little ride with our friend Bev’s car (she was in Kentucky for the week, and let us use her car while she was out of town…and we take care of her cats, too and then pick her up at the airport.) We’ve been talking…ok, I’ve been talking …about getting a dog. I swoon every time I see a puppy on television. So we decided and agreed to take a ride to the North Shore Animal Shelter to see what they had. Just to see, mind you.

Brewster_beauty_shot_3_2And this is what happened. Or, I should say, and Brewster happened. I swore I wasn’t going to take home a dog. We sort of poked around and played with the puppies, of course. Too cute for words. One set of shepherd puppies were so adorable it just would have broken my heart to split them up. And then there’s the whole matter of housebreaking…and never having had a dog before, I’m a little nervous about these things.

I guess this is one of those proud parent things, but I just don’t the camera is doing my puppy justice. Brewster is full grown, a year old and still every inch a puppy. Still isn’t quite sure what to do with those long legs and is quite comical as he chases after a new toy. And the peeing and pooping in the house is still something we’re discussing. The North Shore Animal Shelter’s idea of "housebroken" and my idea of "housebroken" seem to have diverged somewhere. Fortunately, if one Brewster_2_3has dumpster dived his entire household, it’s not so hard. We all slept together the first night like a good pack should. Bill insisted that Brews get used to his crate last night so he could get his part of the conjugal bed back. Brew balked a bit at first. He made some very sound arguments, but very quickly quieted down (which was one of the things that attracted me to him in the first place…in the midst of all the craziness of a animal shelter with dogs freaking out all over the place, and a lot of sounds and smells going on that he couldn’t understand, Brewster showed only curiousity, and then settled very quickly, lying down at my feet right there in the shelter walk area…underneath all that puppiness is a pretty calm little guy.)

I’m still nervous…but we’re going to go out for a nice long walk now and get to know each other a little more.

Will you help?

Taxes_2 It’s the end of the year, the time of year when a lot of people are making charitable contributions in anticipation of the tax man.

We can help you with that!

We hope you saw the annual report [PDF] we publishing in the fall issue of White Crane, Lovers. That should answer most detailed questions about our budget and circulation. And now that you know what we do with the monies that come in, we hope you will consider making a year-end contribution to our efforts.

73cover_3 White Crane Journal, in hard copy and which has an international subscribed circulation of approximately 1500 (not counting the on line Gay Wisdom daily e-mailing we do that has a non-crossover circulation of around another 500) remains self-sustaining, insofar as the expenses of printing and postage are covered by subscriptions. New subscriptions come in every day, so all numbers remain approximate. But we do a press run of 1500. Still, (and not to our liking) no salaries or payment are made to anyone. And we provide the Journal free of charge to LGBT community centers across the country. Postage costs are forcing us to increase the cover price, and subscription price, so if you think you might enjoy a magazine that treats you as something other than a marketing niche, subscribe now and save!

Broughton_all Surplus funds and contribitions support the continuing publication of books. We have moved from simply republishing out-of-print classics (though we will continue to do that) and are now publishing original material, beginning this past year with ALL: A James Broughton Reader, followed by The Beautiful Tendons, by poet Jeffrey Beam, and A Saint in His Own Land: A Malcolm Boyd Reader, next year, in conjunction with Malcolm’s 85th birthday. While the book publishing has also been self-sustaining through the use of print-on-demand technology, the addition of original material and books brings with it additional promotional expenses (advance copies for review, possible speaking engagements, etc.)

Fellowtravelers We have been touring the Fellow Travelers exhibit to LGBT community centers around the country, and  this is an expense (mostly shipping, at @$250 – $300 per city) we are absorbing. After a successful run at the NY LGBT Center, Fellow Travelers traveled to Philadelphia, where it was displayed for Gay History Month at the William Way Center, and has now gone to Salt Lake City. There, we were able to coordinate with another White Crane Institute sponsored project, Queer Spirit, run by Jerry Buie, and in addition to the exhibition we created a weekend mini-retreat there, bringing in Mark Thompson and Shoshone ceremonialist, Clyde Hall (also one of the subjects of Mark’s exhibit) to do talking circles and community development activities with the Queer Spirit Project. Additional funds would enable us to continue to tour this show, which goes to Portland. Oregon, and Modesto, CA after this, then Detroit, and Chicago as of this writing.

Next year marks the beginning of our 20th year of publishing, and we are in planning for a Gmht_leaders"Road Show" that sets up the framework for yet another on-going project we have long wanted to do, a White Crane Speakers Bureau. Taking advantage of the network of contacts we developed through the touring of the Fellow Travelers Exhibit, we intend to kick this off with a three or four day White Crane Institute conference/retreat at Easton Mountain (with whom we continue to collaborate on a number of projects, including the Gay Men’s Health Leadership Academy, that you attended, and which is now in its third year). After this event at Easton, we will take groups of writers and provide speakers events, quarterly, to LGBT Centers around the country. We envision this to be the "embodiment" of the magazine at various sites around the country, and the roster of speakers would change from city to city.

We are also sponsoring a documentary film, Standing On The Bones of Our Ancestors, by filmmaker, Steven Solberg. We are seeking finishing costs support for this project as well.

Wci We can’t do all of this just on the surplus from subscriptions. And if you’re just reading us on line, then maybe it’s time to consider connecting with White Crane and the programs we are undertaking in a more substantial way. White Crane Institute is a registered charity with and just by clicking here you can make a secure donation on line.

And as always…we thank you for your support.

Queer Spirit in Utah

Fellow_travelers_poster_sm From our friend and partner, Jerry Buie:

Recently I announced the birth of Queer Spirit as a reflection of a prayer and vision of bringing queer men together in community to explore the essence and nature of who we are in relationship to Spirit, stepping into new stories and creations of vibrant and magical living. During the birthing of Queer Spirit and with each month I am impressed how amazing and in what manner this vision has unfolded. It touches me deeply and moves me in a profound way that I want to share with you what has taken place.

We have a beautiful website that is growing and expanding with new articles and information: and a slick short video (with music by Moby) that is getting a lot of attention.

Three retreats have been held with another one scheduled in January 2008, and a strong possibility of a documentary/reality story about the retreats. We have monthly activities averaging about 12 men, with many new interested people at each event.

We are delighted to be in partnership with White Crane Institute which has been supportive in many ways, including making it possible for us to bring the Fellow Travelers Exhibit to Salt Lake, with photos by Mark Thompson. This exhibit is a celebration of gay history and the magic makers of today and yesterday. As a bonus thirty men attended a "Gay Soul Making" workshop with Mark Thompson.

This essence and spirit of Queer Spirit here in Utah is becoming a community movement and shift in community processing. It is nothing short of amazing, considering the social and political climate here. It really has been a process of turning it over to Spirit and following that intuition.

It is my continued prayer that this process and movement will continue to grow. That my queer brothers will show up hungry to embrace balance, spirit and community in a loving and intimate manner.

Rainbow Radio!

Scglpm_96dpi White Crane was on the radio waves recently. Reader and frequent contributor, Ed Madden, an Associate Professor of English at the University of South Carolina, in Columbia, produces a wonderful community radio program called Rainbow Radio and was kind enough to talk with Dan and me. You can listen to the show here.