LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
A number of straight journalists told me that they were confused by the emotional high point of New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey’s resignation speech last Thursday in Trenton. "And so my truth is that I am a gay American," the governor said, in a line repeated over and over again on television. The moment I heard that statement-days before I learned that McGreevey had sought advice from the Human Rights Campaign on his choice of words-I instinctively understood its rhetorical power. With one artful phrase, the governor was joining his experience to that of millions of gay and lesbian people who came before him in arriving at their moment of truth, their coming out-while simultaneously tying his aspirations and theirs to those of all Americans who seek a life of liberty and happiness. But, this is not a scandal about McGreevey’s sexuality, and the governor’s lingering in office will not help the gay community, it will not help the Democratic Party, and it will not be in the long-term interest of his own reputation. That said, others of us have things to answer for as well.
PERSPECTIVE/ A GOVERNOR COMES OUT
New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevey tried his hardest to stay in the closet. After divorcing his first wife, he reassured voters who wanted him to be a family man by marrying a second time shortly before his second, and successful run for governor in 2001. Tourist ads this summer showed McGreevey and his wife on the Jersey shore. Still, there was widespread suspicion that he was gay. The press seldom broached the rumors directly, but, perhaps frustrated at their inability to tell the full story, reported tidbits such as the fact that McGreevey’s state police detail resisted his frequent requests to allow him to wander off alone. He moved the state police out of the governor’s mansion into a garage next door, making it harder to keep track of who was visiting the mansion.
PERSPECTIVE/ LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
It’s your turn and this week, readers write in to comment on the firing of Richard Goldstein at the Village, correct our spelling of Janis Joplin’s name, offer input on the Margaret Cho flap at last month’s Human Rights Campaign event at the Democratic Convention and an Oklahoma gay leader who wonders when our community became so alphabetized.
Golan Cipel, the former political appointee at the center of the sex scandal involving New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, returned to Israel this week and spoke to the press for the first time. Cipel, who was described by Israeli news reporters as looking haggard and emotional, reiterated the assertions his Manhattan attorney Allen M. Lowy made on his behalf last Friday in a written statement. "When I finally dared to reject Gov. McGreevey’s advances, the retaliatory actions taken by him and members of his administration were nothing short of abuse and intimidation," read Lowy from his client’s statement.
In the department of unintended consequences, last week’s California Supreme Court ruling may set some kind of a record. As part of their decision last week to void San Francisco’s gay marriages, the justices ordered the city to refund the fees gay couples paid the city. Five days later, on August 17, San Francisco’s Supervisors announced a plan to give the couples the option of getting a check from the city-or donating the money to a fund that would be used to continue the fight over the constitutionality of the state’s gay marriage ban.
James McGreevey (left) and Golan Cipel (right) on the gubernatorial campaign trail november 2, 2001
Daniel Zingale was dropping his children off at his parent’s home on August 12 just as he does every day before work. As he stood in their kitchen at 7:00 in the morning, his cell phone rang and he stepped out on to the porch of his parent’s California home for an extraordinary 20-minute phone call. James McGreevey was about to come out of the closet and his people were calling to ask Zingale, a longtime gay politico, how that should be done.
By a unanimous vote, the seven justices of the California Supreme Court ruled on August 12 that local officials in San Francisco could not unilaterally defy the state’s marriage law and issue licenses to same-sex couples. However, the court expressed no view as to whether California’s marriage law violates either the federal or state Constitution by denying the right to marry to same-sex couples.
Ed Ruscha’s mind works somewhat like the Google search engine. It scans and sweeps the documents of the visual and linguistic vernacular—particularly as it is expressed in Southern California—and samples alluring or revealing snippets, which are then reconstituted as his art.
“Have you been up to the roof garden at the Met? Oh, you should go. So and so and I went just the other night. It’s open late you know. There’s free music. And a bar.”
Some folks look at the New York City of the 1980s through rose-colored glasses, remembering the rock explosion of the Lower East Side, but forgetting a landscape marred by crime, poverty and rapidly rising rates of AIDS deaths.
In “After the Fall,” Arthur Miller writes about two of his favorite topics—egoism and sex. He wraps these subjects in a heavy-handed, even if partially obscured, metaphor that attempts to recast original sin—Man’s separation from God—as original selfishness—Man’s separation from what he wants, which is, more often than not in Miller’s world, sex.
Allen Ginsberg sits at his kitchen table with a morning cup of coffee. The open window behind him looks out on an early sun washing over the Lower East Side’s Alphabet City, the very territory that’s to be infiltrated on August 17 by the second annual HOWL! Festival, named for the poem Ginsberg wrote that gave hope, fear and validation not just to the Beat Generation but also to countless young readers that followed.
The annual New York Fringe Festival is in full swing, and half the fun is discovering which shows live up to the hype, and which are beyond hope.
Through August 23, the Third Annual LaCinemaFe Festival presents films by Latin American filmmakers, including a special retrospective on gay and lesbian themes.
In the wake of the Columbine High School massacre, it took four years before an American filmmaker, Gus Van Sant, addressed the subject of school shootings with the film “Elephant.” However, a sub-genre of films about teens and violence not restricted to the U.S. has been gradually emerging all along.
Obsolescence is a subject that’s bound to surface with source material that’s almost 75 years old. Evelyn Waugh penned his novel “Vile Bodies” in 1930, but set it in the future, famously ending the world to signal the party rushing to a close.
In real life, Fay Wray was ever so much more than the girl in King Kong’s paw atop the Empire State Building, an image that dogged her throughout her career.
As time slips away from the Second World War and into the 21st century, Nazi atrocities and their impact on the human victims continue to inspire filmmakers, who find ever new episodes of human tragedy and courage particular to those horrible years but pertinent to the ages.
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