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Friday, September 30, 2005

1001 Words

The Arab News {English Language Mideast Daily}

GEORGE W. Bush looks to be heading for anywhere but a “place in history” as a further blow to his administration is landed with the resignation as majority leader in the House of Representatives, albeit temporarily, of key ally and Capitol Hill presidential enforcer, Tom DeLay …

What is so striking about this turn of events is how inexorably, the “straight-talking” neoconservative message of the Bush White House is being exposed as anything but straight and the “no-nonsense” policy on terror anything but sense.

USA Today:

It's unclear whether DeLay's indictment will taint Republicans next year. A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll in April found that 38% had an unfavorable opinion about DeLay. But nearly as many, 35%, had never heard of him or had no opinion of the then-majority leader.
Voters don't need to know who DeLay is for Democrats to make gains in 2006, Dartmouth University political scientist Linda Fowler said. "The only message they need to know is that their member of Congress took money from somebody who's in trouble legally."

Washington Post:

In all, 17 Texas House Republicans who received funds from DeLay's Texas political action committee -- formally known as Texans for the Republican Majority or TRMPAC -- were elected. That result gave the party control of the House and enabled it to orchestrate a redrawing of the boundaries of congressional districts in a manner calculated to favor Republican candidates.
The result: Five more Texas Republicans were elected to the U.S. House in 2004, a stunning political success that dimmed the Democrats' chances of wresting away political control of Congress. DeLay has long acknowledged this was his goal. But yesterday he denied knowing about the key transfers of funds between Texas and Washington.

Ariana Huffington:

If This Is Integrity...: Delay, Frist, Abramoff, Safavian... Wasn't this the crowd that was going to "restore honor and integrity" to Washington? If this is what integrity looks like, let's bring back Oval Office blow jobs.

Bernice Clifton:

Dear Mrs. Huffington, we know that you have been well informed on certain techniques, but doesn’t the current resident of said office make it a bit unpalatable so to speak? Would you like some umbrage when I find it or if I can get Brownie to share his?

Jeff Gannon: "Um, Ms. Clifton ..."

1000 Words

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Dear Friends,

On May 15th, over 45,000 walkers came together for the 20th AIDS Walk New York to raise $6 million for GMHC! The event was a huge success, thanks to all your hard work and dedication!

We have another event coming up on Saturday, December 3rd, called Move Against AIDS: a five-hour dance-a-thon. Move Against AIDS is a fundraising dance event with appearances by celebrity hosts, and live musical performances from today’s hottest DJ’s and recording artists. My name is Lindsay Edgar and I’m the new Volunteer Coordinator.

Many of you know that volunteering for Move Against AIDS is a fun opportunity to make new friends and get involved with the community. Our first mailing is Tuesday, October 4th. Please join us for this fun and important evening!

We also need help with the following:

Cocktail Hour – every Monday through Thursday from 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Phone Bank – every Monday through Thursday from 6:00pm to 9:00pm (beginning October 17th)

Night of Move Against AIDS – keep your calendars open for Saturday, December 3rd, and look for volunteer positions on the website soon!

We are located at 119 West 24th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues on the 2nd floor, in the GMHC building.

I look forward to hearing from you. Please let me know when you will be coming in by emailing me at lindsaye@moveagainstaids.org or calling me at 212-807-9255. Thank you!


Lindsay Edgar
Volunteer Coordinator

Cocaine Dreams

André Boisclair remains the frontrunner in the race to elect a new leader of the Parti Québécois. Boisclair admitted he used cocaine in the years during which he was a PQ cabinet minister, between 1996 and 2003.

"What I want to tell you is I made mistakes, things I regret. Yes, I consumed. I can't be clearer than that".

Despite the revelation it apparently has not hurt his chances to take the leadership nor has the fact that he is an openly gay man.

Now, before you dismiss this as a backwater issue, the PQ have held power several times in the last few decades, only being defeated in the last election by the Liberals, and appear to be poised to win again. The worry, of course, is that the PQ remain committed to Québec's separation from Canada and will move on that again. Perhaps that's the culmination of the separatist cocaine dream.

The question remains whether or not wider society within Québec is as tolerant of "non-conformist" behavior as the membership of the PQ. The last leadership debate assiduously avoided Boisclair's drug use, but I can envision what will happen in a knock-down, drag-out election or separatist referendum where the results are too close to call. Negative campaigning in Canada hasn't as yet hit the lows of the US, but it doesn't have far to go.

On the other hand, Boisclair's gayness is a non-issue both within the party and, except on the fringes, within Québec as a whole and so will be unlikely have any influence on either an election or a referendum.

Take Me Out, or Anybody For that matter ..

Take Me Out
By Cliff Froehlich

Matthew Montelongo as Toddy Koovitz and Philip Anthony-Rodriguez as Darren Lemming in The Rep's Off-Ramp production of "Take Me Out."
(J. Bruce Summers)

A baseball allusion is unavoidable: The Rep's expansion franchise, Off-Ramp, opens its inaugural season with a winner - the theatrical equivalent of an error-free game pitched to near-perfection and highlighted by detonations of dramatic power.

Designed to showcase works too ambitious for the intimate Studio but potentially too provocative for the stodgier members of the Rep's Mainstage subscriber base, the new series has scouted well, signing a Rickey Henderson-quality leadoff hitter in Richard Greenberg's "Take Me Out."

The 2003 Tony winner as best play, "Take Me Out" initially appears focused on a single, narrow issue - the ramifications of major-league player Darren Lemming (Philip Anthony-Rodriguez) outing himself as gay. But Greenberg quickly widens his scope to include racism and religion, with Darren and his team, the tellingly named New York Empires, serving as metaphor for and mirror image of an egoistic, maddeningly contradictory America.

Although Greenberg makes frequent, effective use of direct audience address, including several delirious soliloquies, he smartly avoids preachment, delivering serious messages - lessons of humility as much as tolerance - with both sly wit and broad humor. Even in the second act, when a shocking event edges the comedy closer to tragedy, laughter continues to brighten the darkest moments.

Scenic designer Adrian W. Jones' set wonderfully evokes a ballpark with little more than flanking banks of klieg lights, twin electronic scoreboards and a grass backdrop, with sliding walls transforming the field into a locker room, a working shower and a spare, abstract space. The brief scenes of actual game action are simply but convincingly simulated, usually by isolating a single pitcher or hitter, but director Rob Ruggiero also cleverly emulates film montage in his staging of a multi-player ballet of fielding and an exhilarating rally.

What most distinguishes "Take Me Out," however, is its astonishing ensemble. Greenberg creates a few crude cartoons - hilariously obtuse teammates Jason (Jake Schneider) and Toddy (Matthew Montelongo) and an interchangeable pair of excitable Latin players (Jorge Oliver and Jose Joaquin Perez) - but the actors manage to fill even these bold outlines with some subtle shading. Other actors receive relatively brief attention but fully inhabit their complexly motivated characters: Tony Hoty (in a dual role as a conflicted fan and the Empires' surprisingly perceptive manager), Shawn T. Andrew (as Darren's judgmental friend and opposing ballplayer) and Ikuma Isaac (as a proud, lonely Japanese pitcher).

These role players perform undeniably well, but "Take Me Out's" central quartet elevate their game to the superstar level. Anthony-Rodriguez beautifully captures the hubristic Darren's mix of narcissism and charisma. As a John Rocker-like backwoods bigot, Michael Balsley imbues reliever Shane Mungitt with a tortured sadness that genuinely complicates our reaction to his ugly words and actions. And Tim Altmeyer provides the play's wry perspective and emotional core as Kippy, the clubhouse intellectual.

But Nat DeWolf bats cleanup in this lineup of sluggers. As Darren's gay business manager Mason, who slowly falls in love with both his client and his sport, DeWolf is the fan's surrogate, explaining baseball's irresistible appeal with a winning combination of high-flown eloquence and pretension-deflating self-deprecation. DeWolf is an astonishment: smart, funny, touching, utterly endearing.

At the end of one of his breathless paeans, Mason speaks for all of us besotted with the national pastime. "Baseball is unrelentingly meaningful," he says. The same can legitimately be said of "Take Me Out."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A Cure?

REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS/(R) CONNECTICUT: I want to know how you coordinated the evacuation.

MICHAEL BROWN, FORMER FEMA DIRECTOR: By urging the governor and the mayor to order the mandatory evacuation.

SHAYS: And that's coordinating?

BROWN: What would you like for me to do, congressman?

SHAYS: Well, that's why I'm happy you left because that kind of, you know, look in the lights like a deer tells me that you weren't capable to do the job.

BROWN: I take great umbrage to that comment, congressman.

Bernice, our ubiquitous correspondent, was down in DC looking for "that fetching John Roberts." She gets him confused with John Kerry's running mate -- she has been known to say that all good looking white men look alike, so it doesn't really matter to her. She did, while down there, stop into the wrong committee hearing and heard the above exchange. Her response?

Well, now she figures that if "Brownie" is taking it, she wants the same medication for her arterial flow problem. She is feverishly searching for umbrage.

Any Wednesday in October at Tower Lincoln Center

Tower Records Lincoln Center and Faust Harrison Pianos present ANY WEDNESDAY AT TOWER RECORDS, a series of live free performances celebrating the best in cabaret, jazz and Broadway performers every Wednesday evening at 6:00 p.m.

For October, our theme is performers paying tribute to legendary stars.

Oct. 5: Cabaret performer Valerie Lemon presents her delightful show that pays tribute to Jane Froman, the legendary star of Broadway, radio, and recordings, whose life story was recalled and Hollywoodized in the Susan Hayward vehicle "With a Song in My Heart". Now hear her true story and remember her music.

We will be dark on October 12 in honor of the Yom Kippur Holiday.

Oct. 19: International performer Karen Koehler recalls the career and songs of Marlene Dietrich. Karen does not imitate Marlene, but offers her own interpretations of the great song catalogue associated with this immortal screen star.

Also on October 19, ANY WEDNESDAY features its first "double feature" when, at 8:00 p.m., we welcome a new voice in jazz, Judith Owen, performing selections from her debut album, "Lost and Found". This delightful Welsh-born singer combines soulful interpretations of standards with an impish and unpredictable sense of humor.

Oct. 26: Singer, songwriter and producer Brian Gari hosts a tribute to his grandfather, Broadway star Eddie Cantor. He will be joined by his mother, Janet Cantor Gari and his father Roberto Gari, to reminisce, sing songs associated with Cantor and show rare video clips from a newly assembled DVD of rare footage of Cantor on television.

Call (212) - 799-2500 x195 for more information ask for Bart Greenberg.

Distractions (Continued)

Seems like in the wonderful world of television this week can be declared Mark Valley Week. He is most assuredly a welcomed addition to Welcomed Distractions. He is in the very good company of Jesse Metcalf and Cristian Solemino, which incidentally brings up one reason for declaring this his week. Both he and Solemino will be featured on Cable TV this weekend. Solemino, as previously mentioned in the Footballers’ Wives recap on BBC America and Valley in Soapnet’s initiation of broadcasting all 13 episodes of Pasadena, the short lived night time serial.

Tuesday evening saw Mark reunite with the co-star of The Next Best Thing, Rupert Everett where they played potential boyfriends. The two best things about Next Best Thing were Valley as fantasy fodder and that it was the late John Schlesinger’s last fling as a director which made it at the very least a valiant effort.

Mark Valley’s presence on Boston Legal is certainly part of its valiant effort to up the ante on welcomed distractions. It is hoped they give him more Keen Eddie-like things to do even if expecting him to give a big juicy one to Rupert is beyond the pale. But hope does spring eternal. James Spader and Elias Koteas could give lessons as well documented in 1996’s Crash. Wait, James Spader’s on Boston Legal, too! Now there’s a distraction waiting to happen.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Say "eh" (and carry a rainbow stethoscope)

from 365gay.com
Ontario's health minister says gays and lesbians in the medical field should consider moving to Canada. George Smitherman touted the province to delegates at the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association's annual conference in Montreal.

Most of those attending the convention were American, and in a keynote address the openly gay cabinet minister said that doctors dissatisfied with life in the US should think about a move - especially if they want to marry.

"Many of you work in States where progress of this type is measured in baby steps at best, and sometimes not at all," Smitherman said.

"And some of you live and work in States where the fight is actually not to lose ground. And yet you keep at it, day in, day out, and for that you have my gratitude, my respect, and my undying admiration."

" ...thousands of gay couples have been married in Canada, happily and proudly joining the millions of other couples in this country and around the world who have come together in love and ask nothing more than society’s blessing of that union," Smitherman said.

"In Canada we do bless that union, regardless of the sexual orientation of the people involved, and that is something that gives me a tremendous amount of pride in my country.

"The only barrier that exists to my getting married lies in my convincing someone to marry me, and I suppose it would be unreasonable of me to look for my government’s help on that one."

The Ontario Medical Association recently said that the province is short some 2,000 qualified doctors.

While doctors' salaries are controlled by the province, Smitherman said that medical practice costs are considerably lower than in the US making incomes of Canadian doctors similar to those of Americans.

"We're open for business," declared Smitherman.

"In Canada our values as a nation help define our values in health care," he told the convention.

"Our laws have equality as an absolute foundational value, and thus our publicly-driven health care system respects and reflects that same value.

"Our system of Medicare is built around the notion - and many of us in this country regard it as more of a tenet than a simple notion - that everybody is entitled to first class health care. Everybody."

Following the speech a number of doctors and nurses approached Smitherman to enquire about immigration law and practice requirements.

The Flawless Mr. Hoffman

Cindy Adams had this to say:
September 26, 2005 -- THE biopic "Capote" is getting big- time major p.r. It's getting heavy- duty thumping for star Philip Sey mour Hoffman to cop an Oscar for his brilliant turn as Truman Capote. These days, whatever newspaper you're wrapping your fish in has a profile on him and this movie. The only soul not fazed by the surrounding huff and puff is Mr. Hoffman himself.
Like, for instance, he was to shoot a Rolling Stone layout. The magazine wanted it in Capote's own one-time home. That's in Brooklyn. Philip's made 25 films … His face is known, right? So you'd think they'd go from Manhattan via stretch limo with a bar inside, right? That's what the publicity people for the magazine, the publicity people for the picture, the publicity people for Philip thought, right?
He schlepped his whole group — assistant, staff, makeup person, whatever and whoever — onto the subway.

It seems that Hoffmann is one of those actors that actually has an interest in acting rather than stardom. Anyone who has seen him in his impeccably interpreted character roles in The Talented Mr. Ripley, Boogie Nights, Nobody’s Fool (with Paul Newman), Magnolia and Robert De Niro’s Flawless co-star intuitively knows that.
These two quotes from his bio at IMDB are indicative of what Mr. Hoffman may be:

"Actors are responsible to the people we play. I don't label or judge. I just play them as honestly and expressively and creatively as I can, in the hope that people who ordinarily turn their heads in disgust instead think, 'What I thought I'd feel about that guy, I don't totally feel right now' ". -- On his responsibility as an actor

"To have that concentration to act well is like lugging things up staircases in your brain. I think that's a thing people don't understand. It is that exhausting. If you're doing it well, if you're concentrating the way you need to, if your will and your concentration and emotional and imagination and emotional life are all in tune, concentrated and working together in that role, that is just like lugging weights upstairs with your head. And I don't think that should get any easier". --On acting

Perhaps his new role as Truman Capote in Capote will help him achieve stardom. Actually let’s hope not. Mr. Hoffman is a stalwart of the Theater in Metropolitan New York where he grew up. Sometimes success spoils excellent actors. Although it seems like Mr. Hoffman will not fall prey to that special disease known as pretense and self-importance. Besides he is appreciated and loved just the way he is by the right kind of people. Comparatively speaking he is an extremely successful actor considering how consistently he works and how well it often turns out. (Check out what the October issue of New York magazine has to say. See Comments below)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Any Wednesday at Tower Lincoln Center

September 28: BILLY PORTER
The explosive Broadway star will be presenting highlights from his live album AT THE CORNER OF BROADWAY + SOUL. The sold out concert was preserved by Sh-K-Boom Records, but you can experience this energetic performer live at Tower.

We hope you'll join the growing audiences for these concerts. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Bart Greenberg, Vocal Department Product Specialist, at Tower Records (212-799-2500 x195).

A Touch of Class

Charisse Davis is proof positive that Native New Yorkers can be classy and pleasant. Her recent recording I Fall is a collection of original material that exhibits her smokey delivery that is reminiscent of other class acts but her style is all her own. She is a go-getter with the right amount of aplomb, but her true strength lies in her talent.
Her first professional job was at the age of six, when she sang on jingles for Wonder Bread & St. Joseph Aspirin”. Other jingles followed which lead to participation in a Sesame Street album. At age 11, she traveled to Ghent, Belgium to perform in the role of Scipio in Gershiwn’s Opera Porgy & Bess She attended Lincoln Square Academy for the Performing Arts, and was in the band “Jamilah” which also boasted Keith Sweat as a member. They were frequent performers at The Apollo as an opening act for major recording artists. A single “I Can’t Face The Rain,” was released on the Zakia record label. Her performances have been enjoyed by New Yorkers at such venues such as “The Bitter End”, “Sweetwaters”, “Harlem Week”, “La Bar Bat”, “La Place on the Park”, and more recently at Ashford & Simpson’s “Sugar Bar." She has appeared on “ First Exposure”, on Manhattan cable television, and has also been in the production of The Jazz Nativity,at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall, and an extended run at “The Lambs Theater”.Her work has also included vocals and voice over work for an animation recording The Magic Black Baloon, with Melba Moore, and Pat Prescott. Charisse has worked with such artists as Will Downing, Johnny Kemp, Bob Baldwin, Nicki Richards, Mark Whitfield, The New York Voices, and as a featured background vocalist for Jennifer Love Hewitt, Deborah Gibson, and is currently the featured vocalist on Pete Belasco’s latest single “Deeper.” Charisse not only continues to sing as a session singer, but she also continues to write in her love and pursuit of music. “I Fall” is her first CD, which has caught the attention of folks like Lalah Hathaway, Deborah Cox, Chic’s Silver and Roberta Flack.

Tower Lincoln Center among other retail venues carries the recording and it is hoped that someday in the near feature that Any Wednesday Cabaret there will showcase her talent.

Look for it on the main floor’s Rock/Pop section under “Charisse.” She is more than worthy of a listen.

From Yahoo News via HuffingtonPost.com

Sheehan Arrested During Anti-War Protest

By JENNIFER C. KERR, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Cindy Sheehan, the California mother who became a leader of the anti-war movement after her son died in
Iraq, was arrested Monday along with hundreds of others protesting outside the White House.

Sheehan, carrying a photo of her son in his Army uniform, rallied with other protesters in a park across the street from the White House and then marched to the gate of the executive mansion to request a meeting with
President Bush.

The protesters later sat down on the pedestrian walkway in front of the White House — knowing they would be arrested — and began singing and chanting "Stop the war now!"

Police warned them three times that they were breaking the law by failing to move along, then began making arrests. One man climbed over the White House fence and was quickly subdued by
Secret Service agents.

Sheehan, 48, was the first taken into custody. She smiled as she was carried to the curb, then stood up and walked to a police vehicle as protesters chanted, "The whole world is watching."

"It's an honor to be arrested with this group of people," said Gary Handschumacher, 58, of Crawford, Colo., who was waiting for police to arrest him.

Sgt. Scott Fear, spokesman for the U.S. Park Police, said about 370 protesters were arrested over four and a half hours. All but one were charged with demonstrating without a permit, a misdemeanor. One person faced a charge of crossing a police line.

Sheehan's 24-year-old son, Casey, was killed last year in an ambush in Sadr City, Iraq. She attracted worldwide attention last month with her 26-day vigil outside Bush's Texas ranch.

Monday's demonstration was part of a broader anti-war effort on Capitol Hill organized by United for Peace and Justice, an umbrella group. Representatives from anti-war groups met Monday with members of Congress to urge them to work to end the war and to bring the troops home.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Bush is "very much aware" of the protesters and "recognizes that there are differences of opinion" on Iraq.

"It's the right of the American people to peacefully express their views. And that's what you're seeing here in Washington, D.C.," McClellan said. "They're well-intentioned, but the president strongly believes that withdrawing ... would make us less safe and make the world more dangerous."

The protest Monday followed a massive demonstration Saturday that drew a crowd of 100,000 or more, the largest such gathering in the capital since the war began in March 2003.

On Sunday, a rally supporting the war drew about 500 people. Speakers included veterans of World War II and the war in Iraq, as well as family members of soldiers killed in Iraq.

"I would like to say to Cindy Sheehan and her supporters: Don't be a group of unthinking lemmings," said Mitzy Kenny of Ridgeley, W.Va., whose husband died in Iraq last year. She said the anti-war demonstrations "can effect the war in a really negative way. It gives the enemy hope."

Bring 'Em Back Alive

Fathers are pleading, lovers are all alone
Mothers are praying--send our sons back home
You marched them away--yes, you did--on ships and planes
To the senseless war, facing death in vain

Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Turn the ships around, lay your weapons down

Can't you see 'em march across the sky, all the soldiers that have died
Tryin' to get home--can't you see them tryin' to get home?
Tryin' to get home--they're tryin' to get home
Cease all fire on the battlefield
Enough men have already been wounded or killed

Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Turn the ships around, lay your weapons down
(Mothers, fathers and lovers, can't you see them)

Oooh, oooh...
Tryin' to get home--can't you see them tryin' to get home?
Oooh, oooh...
Tryin' to get home--they're tryin' to get home

Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
Bring the boys home (bring 'em back alive)
What they doing over there, now (bring 'em back alive)
When we need them over here, now (bring 'em back alive)
What they doing over there, now (bring 'em back alive)
When we need them over here, now (bring 'em back alive)

Batali Tomato Sauce

It comes out best if images of Jesse Metcalf in his underwear are recalled.

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, chopped into ¼ inch dice
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried
½ medium carrot finely shredded
28 ounce can peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand with their juices
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a three quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook five more minutes until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for thirty minutes until the sauce is as thick as hot cereal. Season to taste with salt. This sauce keeps for 1 week in the refrigerator and up to six months in the freezer.


In a world gone mad there are a few welcomed distractions: Jesse Metcalf in his underwear on Desperate Housewives and, of course, the intense Cristian Solemino on Footballers’ Wives. Next Saturday when the opportunity to catch up on Season 2 presents itself on BBC America have some comfort food along with it.

The versatile eggplant is exactly that because it welcomes and absorbs all the flavours that surround it. Two Summers ago, New York magazine printed some wonderful recipes from the best chefs in the city and this Caponata Recipe from Mario Batali of Babbo provides one of the best distractions as well as comfort. Caponata is a Sicilian dish which varies from province to province in the jewel of the Mediterranean. The presence of the cocoa in his recipe means that it probably originated in Palermo.

Mario Batali
8 servings

½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large Spanish onion, cut into 1-inch diced pieces
3 tablespoons pine nuts
3 tablespoons dried currants
½ to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
2 medium eggplants, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 1 ¼ pounds each)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
¾ cup basic tomato sauce (see above for recipe)
¼ cup orange juice
Zest of 3 oranges
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a 12 to 14 inch sauté pan. Add the onion, garlic, pine nuts, currants and red pepper flakes, and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes over medium heat until the onion is translucent.

Add the eggplant, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa powder, and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring often.

Add the thyme, tomato sauce, orange juice and orange zest and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat and simmer For 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Let cool and serve at room temperature. Best made one day ahead to let the flavours develop. Will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Thousands rally against Iraq war
Saturday, September 24, 2005; Posted: 4:08 p.m. EDT (20:08 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Opponents of the war in Iraq marched Saturday in a clamorous day of protest, song and remembrance of the dead, some showing surprisingly diverse political views even as they spoke with one loud voice in wanting U.S. troops home.
The surging crowd, shouting "Bush out now" and "Peace now," marched in front of the White House and then to the Washington Monument in an 11-hour marathon of dissent.
They were young people with green hair, nuns whose anti-war activism dates to Vietnam, parents mourning their children in uniform lost in Iraq, and uncountable families motivated for the first time to protest.
President Bush himself was out of town, monitoring hurricane recovery efforts from Colorado and Texas. The protesters shouted for his impeachment.
"We have to get involved," said Erika McCroskey, 27, who came from Des Moines, Iowa, with her younger sister and mother for her first demonstration, traveling in one of the buses that poured into the capital from far-flung places.
"Bush Lied, Thousands Died," said one sign. "End the Occupation," said another.
Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, noting that organizers had hoped to draw 100,000 people, said, "I think they probably hit that."
A few hundred people in a counterdemonstration in support of Bush's Iraq policy lined the protest route near the FBI building. The two groups shouted at each other, a police line keeping them apart.
Ramsey said the day's protest unfolded peacefully under the heavy police presence. "They're vocal but not violent," he said.
While united against the war, political beliefs varied. Paul Rutherford, 60, of Vandalia, Michigan, said he is a Republican who supported Bush in the last election and still does -- except for the war.
"President Bush needs to admit he made a mistake in the war and bring the troops home, and let's move on," Rutherford said. His wife, Judy, 58, called the removal of Saddam Hussein "a noble mission" but said U.S. troops should have left when claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction proved unfounded.
"We found that there were none and yet we still stay there and innocent people are dying daily," she said.
Arthur Pollock, 47, of Cecil County, Maryland, said he was against the war from the beginning. He wants the soldiers out, but not all at once.
"They've got to leave slowly," said Pollock, attending his first protest. "It will be utter chaos in that country if we pull them out all at once."
Critics also attack other policies
From the stage, though, the speeches were hard-edged and critical of Bush on far more fronts than Iraq. Groups representing a bazaar of causes attacked administration policies on the poor, on hurricane response, on the Cuban embargo and much more.
The protest in the capital showcased a series of demonstrations in foreign and other U.S. cities.
A crowd in London, estimated by police at 10,000, marched in support of withdrawing British troops from Iraq. Highlighting the need to get out, protesters said, were violent clashes between insurgents and British troops in the southern Iraq city of Basra.
In Rome, dozens of protesters held up banners and peace flags outside the U.S. Embassy and covered a sidewalk with messages and flowers in honor of those killed in Iraq.
Cindy Sheehan, the California mother who drew thousands of demonstrators to her 26-day vigil outside Bush's Texas ranch last month, won a roar of approval when she took the stage before the Washington march. Her 24-year-old son, Casey, was killed in Iraq last year.
"Shame on you," Sheehan admonished, directing that portion of her remarks to members of Congress who backed Bush on the war. "How many more of other people's children are you willing to sacrifice?"
She led the crowd in chanting, "Not one more."
Separately, hundreds of opponents of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund danced to the beat of drums in the Dupont Circle part of the city before marching toward the White House to join the anti-war protesters.
"Probably the justification offered for most wars is tied in with economics," said Jack Brady, 57, a Washington architect in the anti-IMF protest. "And the losers are the people, for the most part."
Supporters of Bush's policy in Iraq assembled in smaller numbers to get their voice heard in the day's anti-war din. About 150 of them rallied at the U.S. Navy Memorial.
Gary Qualls, 48, of Temple, Texas, whose Marine reservist son, Louis, died last year in the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, asked: "If you bring them home now, who's going to be responsible for all the atrocities that are fixing to happen over there? Cindy Sheehan?"

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Bernice Knows

from Friday's Daily News:


Where, oh where, is Bianca? President Bush treated White House reporters to a decidedly goofy moment yesterday, when he kept demanding the whereabouts of the junior Bloomberg News correspondent during a mini-press conference at the Pentagon. "Bianca?" Bush inquired, looking down at a list of White House press poolers (notably Bloomberg reporter Bianca Davie). "Nobody named Bianca? Well, sorry Bianca's not here. I'll be glad to answer her question." While Vice President Cheney and other high officials smiled supportively, Bush explained: "Just trying to spread around the joy of asking a question." More official smiles. The President wouldn't give up. "Are you Bianca?" he asked another young woman. "No, I'm not," the woman answered. "Anita - Fox News." Bush responded with determination: "Okay. I was looking for Bianca. I'm sorry." Yesterday, I, too, had trouble locating Bianca, who didn't return my phone call by deadline.

If anyone had asked Bernice she might have informed the inquirer that Bianca is in Paris with Maggie, her companion and her daughter, Miranda.

Has anyone told Mr. Bush? Can he be reached in Texas, ... er, Colorado?

Is he listening? watching? caring?

Cecilia Bartoli

She appeared at Tower Lincoln Center on September 22, 2005 and 'wowed' the participants during the Q&A by her sheer presence and her absolute pleasantness. Besides, anyone who records music forbidden by the Vatican [some things never change] deserves our attention.

Cecilia Bartoli Champions "Opera Proibita"

“A new CD by Roman mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli is always an event…she is a singing actress of virtually boundless range.”
— Wall Street Journal

“Everything I’ve learned from living in Rome I find in this music: the continuous movement in the architecture, the dramatic play of light and shade that only a southern climate can create, the majesty of the ruins of the Forum, the sinuous curves of water in the fountains, the sound of voices in the ancient alleys, the pleasure of eating ice cream on hot days, the sense of the infinite you get from watching the Tiber flow by and, especially, the joy of discovering something new that you’ve never noticed before.” — Cecilia Bartoli on Opera Proibita

A native of Rome, soprano Cecilia Bartoli has used her worldwide fame and tireless musical curiosity to bring to light rarely heard operas, oratorio and song from centuries past. Her recent Decca recordings devoted to unearthing musical treasures by Vivaldi (resulting in the multi-platinum selling Vivaldi Album), Salieri and Gluck have met with broad critical and commercial acclaim. Opera Proibita, Bartoli’s newest and most intriguing project yet, offers world-premiere recordings of newly-recovered works by Handel, Alessandro Scarlatti and Antonio Caldara — repertoire created in Rome in the earliest days of the 18th century, in an atmosphere of censorship and subterfuge.

The Pope Bans Opera

By edict of the Pope (acting as the Bishop of Rome at the time), there were no staged performances of opera in Rome in the first decade of the 18th century. This was partly a municipal sacrifice in thanks to God for the minimal loss of life during a major earthquake in 1703, but also reflected the Pope’s conviction that theaters were places of sin and corruption, and that the works staged therein promoted immoral behavior and promiscuity. This Papal ban on opera lasted until 1710.

A Unique Musical Solution

Despite the official restrictions of the Church, the leading patrons of the arts were senior members of the priesthood who employed composers to create splendid entertainments for parties in their ornate residences. Forbidden to write operas, the creative forces of composers like Handel, Scarlatti and Caldara were directed towards the composition of new forms of dramatic-musical expression: oratorios and cantatas which were not only strikingly rich in orchestral color but unusually full of expression and emotion. On the surface virtuous in nature, these sacred works had a subversive undercurrent of sensuality hidden behind their cloak of sanctity. The works depicted the worldly lives of saints, Biblical figures and allegorical characters in productions that varied from opera only in their lack of staging (visual theatricality being seen as profane). While the texts were at least superficially pious and moral in tone, this music resembled more closely the stage drama forbidden by the papal doctrine than traditional sacred works of the time. These works were performed in the vernacular and by the same players who were active in opera before the ban.

Reclaimed by the Female Voice

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Cecilia Bartoli’s longtime researcher and collaborator, Claudio Osele, these glorious arias by Handel, Scarlatti and Caldara – many of them world premiere recordings – are now revealed in their true light by the world’s most breathtaking artist. Because women were also forbidden from public performance in 18th century Rome (a further example of the tension between Catholic morality and the performing arts), some of these works are being sung here by a woman for the first time.

Worldwide Tour

In October of this year, Bartoli will embark together with the musicians of La Scintilla on a major US tour of this repertoire with performances in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington, DC and New York. Following her US tour Bartoli will head to Europe where she will perform these works in Zurich, Berlin, Amsterdam, Basel, Brussels, London, Paris, Munich and Cologne.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Calling Bianca!

Our Manhattan correspondent, Bernice Clifton and her sisters are loyal followers of All My Children but have been disappointed lately in the quality of the story telling except for that lovely to behold, Mr. Musser.

Also, being patriotic American citizens while living within that fine line that divides reality and fiction Bernice et al. were thrilled to hear the President of the United States calling for Bianca, Erica Kane’s lesbian daughter and hapless victim in the baby fraud story line, who is now living in Paris.

The President was holding a press conference in Galveston when he looked up from the podium and asked:

“Uh, Bianca

Nobody named Bianca?

Well, sorry Bianca’s not here. I’d be glad to answer her question …”

Bernice was prepared to write a letter in support of the President’s quest for Bianca for she, too, wanted to answer all Bianca’s questions and try to get her back on the failing show. Esmeralda Clifton on the other hand thought perhaps it was the name of another hurricane, but Bernice reminded her that the First Lady already told us that it was “Corrina, Corrina.”

“Well, then who’s this Rita?” chimed in Bonita Clifton.

“I think she’s a meter maid,” responded Bernice twirling about to Beatles music. “Or a bartender.”

It has been suggested that Bianca might be Jeff Gannon in drag.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Love Is A force of Nature

In celebrating life, it is also important to remember and accentuate what those who have come before have left behind. Most of the time it is some aspect of culture, that which defines the expression of life, or death as the case may be. It is that time of year. We are getting nearer to all All Souls. ‘Tis, therefore, just about time to celebrate the Soul.

James Arthur Baldwin:

“I would like to use the time that’s left to change the world, to teach children or to convey to the people who have children that everything that lives is holy. I hope to suggest the possibility of a new vocabulary, of a new morality by way of looking at the world.”

Mr. Baldwin was much of what was not acceptable to some yet he went above and beyond being acceptable and simply lived who he was. That dichotomy makes him a contemporary saint. He lives on in his expression.

David Linx declared:

“Jimmy taught me that everything can be achieved, that madness can be chased, that hatred can be banned , and that love saves you and is a hope powerful to last beyond life.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

God As Mother

Take equal parts daylight and night time pour them into a day and you get an equinox. There are two a year. This one is Autumnal – six months ago it was Vernal. Then again it depends on where a body lives. South or North of the Equator then what you call the Equinoces changes conversely.

Be that as it may it is a time of year when the Earth’s abundance is celebrated, be it Spring or Fall depending on which side of the Looking Glass one finds one’s self, i.e. North or South of the Equator. It is a time to celebrate the Goddess as the giver of life. The RC Church usurped this ancient tradition by celebrating the Virgin Mary’s nativity this month on September 8th, a vestige of ancient fertility rites.

The Harvest Moon actually took place last weekend. It is when and where it is time to celebrate the Earth as Mother. True and natural religion has to do with celebrating life and the mysteries surrounding us.

It is exactly the reason that Cindy Sheehan is an important symbol for all of those who care about the actual right to life. This coming Saturday it is vital in some way, shape or form to unite with this symbol of the Mother Goddess in contemporary day to day living.

Stop Death. Start Life. Stand Up.

Surgeon, Heal Thyself

From the National Center for Victims of Crime:

Society is becoming increasingly aware of male rape. However, experts believe that current male rape statistics vastly under-represent the actual number of males age 12 and over who are raped each year. Rape crisis counselors estimate that while only one in 50 raped women report the crime to the police, the rates of under-reporting among men are even higher (Brochman, 1991). Until the mid-1980s, most literature discussed this violent crime in the context of women only. The lack of tracking of sexual crimes against men and the lack of research about the effects of male rape are indicative of the attitude held by society at large -- that while male rape occurs, it is not an acceptable topic for discussion.

Historically, the rape of males was more widely recognized in ancient times. Several of the legends in Greek mythology involved abductions and sexual assaults of males by other males or gods. The rape of a defeated male enemy was considered the special right of the victorious soldier in some societies and was a signal of the totality of the defeat. There was a widespread belief that a male who was sexually penetrated, even if it was by forced sexual assault, thus "lost his manhood," and could no longer be a warrior or ruler. Gang rape of a male was considered an ultimate form of punishment and, as such, was known to the Romans as punishment for adultery and the Persians and Iranians as punishment for violation of the sanctity of the harem (Donaldson, 1990).

Nicholas Groth, a clinical psychologist and author of Men Who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender, says all sexual assault is an act of aggression, regardless of the gender or age of the victim or the assailant. Neither sexual desire nor sexual deprivation is the primary motivating force behind sexual assault. It is not about sexual gratification, but rather a sexual aggressor using somebody else as a means of expressing their own power and control.

… While less research has been conducted about male rape victims, case research suggests that males also commonly experience many of the reactions that females experience. These reactions include: depression, anger, guilt, self-blame, sexual dysfunctions, flashbacks, and suicidal feelings (Isley, 1991). Other problems facing males include an increased sense of vulnerability, damaged self-image and emotional distancing (Mezey & King, 1989). Male rape victims not only have to confront unsympathetic attitudes if they choose to press charges, they also often hear unsupportive statements from their friends, family and acquaintances (Brochman, 1991). People will tend to fault the male victim instead of the rapist. Stephen Donaldson, president of Stop Prisoner Rape (a national education and advocacy group), says that the suppression of knowledge of male rape is so powerful and pervasive that criminals such as burglars and robbers sometimes rape their male victims as a sideline solely to prevent them from going to the police.

There are many reasons that male victims do not come forward and report being raped, but perhaps the biggest reason for many males is the fear of being perceived as homosexual. However, male sexual assault has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the attacker or the victim, just as a sexual assault does not make the victim survivor gay, bisexual or heterosexual. It is a violent crime that affects heterosexual men as much as gay men. The phrase "homosexual rape," for instance, which is often used by uninformed persons to designate male-male rape, camouflages the fact that the majority of the rapists are not generally homosexual (Donaldson, 1990).

In a well-known study of offenders and victims conducted by Nicholas Groth and Ann Burgess, one-half of the offender population described their consenting sexual encounters to be with women only, while 38 percent had consenting sexual encounters with men and women. Additionally, one-half of the victim population was strictly heterosexual. Among the offenders studied, the gender of the victim did not appear to be of specific significance to half of the offenders. Instead, they appeared to be relatively indiscriminate with regard to their choice of a victim -- that is, their victims included both males and females, as well as both adults and children (Groth & Burgess, 1980). The choice of a victim seemed to be more a matter of accessibility than of sexual orientation, gender or age.

Many people believe that the majority of male rape occurs in prison; however, there is existing research which shatters this myth. A study of incarcerated and non-incarcerated male rape victims in Tennessee concluded that the similarities between these two groups would suggest that the sexual assault of men may not be due to conditions unique to a prison and that all men are potential victims (Lipscomb et al., 1992).

Research indicates that the most common sites for male rape involving post-puberty victims are outdoors in remote areas and in automobiles (the latter usually involving hitchhikers). Boys in their early and mid-teens are more likely to be victimized than older males (studies indicate a median victim age of 17). The form of assault usually involves penetration of the victim anally and/or orally, rather than stimulation of the victim's penis. Gang rape is more common in cases involving male victims than those involving female victims. Also, multiple sexual acts are more likely to be demanded, weapons are more likely to be displayed and used, and physical injury is more likely to occur, with the injuries that do occur being more serious than with injured female rape victims (Porter, 1986)….

It was immediately comprehensible that the opening scenes on last evening’s third season opening episode of Nip/Tuck were part of a dream, the big surprise was Christian’s revelation that he had been raped, i.e. violated during the slasher’s attack which was depicted in such a way to inform the viewer in a very accurate way exactly what happened. Pain and insecurity were vividly depicted through Julian McMahon’s subtle interpretation in stark contrast to the scenes involving Christian after the resolution of his intimidation. The New York Daily News TV blurb stated: “The third-season opener resolves last year's slasher cliff-hanger, introduces a mammoth subplot and, showcasing new recurring player Rhona Mitra, ends with one of the sexiest TV scenes ever.”

It may only seem that the issue of Christian's rape was rapidly resolved. It may be reasonable to expect that the repercussions will recur throughout this very promising third season. St. Elsewhere used this as an element in the development of one of its major male characters and its resolution had a long arc. Christian eventually reverts to his dark, sexually cold self declaring, “I’m Back.” McMahon’s demon character, Cole, on Charmed would not have expressed it better. It was as if Christian had become the predator once again only with a very willing victim who may be just as dark.

Bruno Campos has evolved into an intriguing character actor as opposed to the generic Latin hunk. His Quentin is dark and multi-layered. His sexuality in the interaction with Christian was frightening and alluring at one and the same time.

The second most interesting element in this episode was the caring and nurturing exhibited by both Christian and Sean applying much sensitivity to what might have been an exercise in absurdity and silly humour with their tending to the huge, immobile woman.

Nip/Tuck like Rescue Me does not provide very many soft and cuddly moments or characters for that matter, but it is nevertheless addictive and seductive, the sum of its gorgeous monster of a cast.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

To Know Her Is To Love Her

The other great piece of news for afficionados of the music of the 60s is now that Cameo-Parkway Records have finally seen the light of day recently in the form of a box set, October 11th will see the release of greatest hits packages of its major stars, among them and none more anticipated than Dee Dee Sharp’s.

Dee Dee’s best work there was not of the top ten and rarely the top 40 but the woman can sing the grapes off the wallpaper. Like her contemporary Darlene Love, Ms. Sharp might have reached heights worthy of her talent had all the elements been set in motion. Furnished with gospel infused vocal talents her voice burns brightly on more than one noteworthy “single” that are finally available on compact disc.

One is a collaboration with her one time spouse Kenny Gamble, “I Really Love You,” another is the Northern Soul gem, “Deep Dark Secret” written by Ed Rambeau, cited below in “Big Town Girls” and the third is a knock down version of “To Know Him Is To Love Him.”

While “Mashed Potatoes,” “Do the Bird” and “Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes)” are fun and cute, the true woman therein rocked out on subsequent less successful outings. In relatively recent PBS specials it is apparent that Ms. Sharp continues to sing sublimely. She’ll take you right back to Church.

Eventually, billed as Dee Dee Sharp Gamble, on Philadelphia International Records in the mid 70s the listening public was treated to outstanding interpretations of “I’m Not In Love” and “Ooh Child” among others. If only those two albums were to become available.

In the meantime, finally some of her best un-popular recordings will be accessible to those who have waited a long time. Those in the know do know that it was well worth the wait.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Frankly, my dear

I'm explaining to a friend via email about Brokeback Mountain and brought up the quote about it being a "gay Gone With The Wind".

Her reply, after we've had a serious conversation:

Thanks..this sounds like a movie to watch for.

But I do have a question.. There isn't anybody in this "birthing a baby" is there :-)

And of course I, never being at a loss for words:

Dunno. Probably one of the sheep.

OK, to clarify. They're cowboys, but they're minding sheep on a desolate mountain in Wyoming.

Wyoming. Where men are men, and sheep obviously don't need to worry.

On the other hand ...

There is always life Italian style. Viva Italia!

Oliviero Toscani's Italian ad campaign. Wanna buy a sofa? A voglia!

Walk Away Renee

Well, Cindy Adams finally caught up with the rest of the world. Why is "it" still something that can only be referred to euphemistically? The mind boggles that in this day and age that a woman of a certain supposed sophistication would go where so many less sophisticated women have ventured?

September 19, 2005 -- THE Renée Zellweger-Kenny Chesney 20-minute marriage that ended with a charge of "fraud" and a request for annulment rather than divorce? Hollywoodniks very very very close to one of them say the reason could well be hubby's lifestyle choices.

"Lifestyle choices" indeed.

Kenny, honey, please let us in on your dirty little secret.

Will's Saving Grace

Sometimes good things happen to good people and in these parts there was much jubilation for Bobby Cannavale’s Emmy. He is obviously a person who knows how to make lemonade. He has risen to the occasion more than once and perhaps this award also included his turns on OZ and Six Feet Under. People do notice and Mr. Cannavale is worthy of notice.

He is doubly blessed in having both Italiano and Puerto Riqueno heritage. It has been said that the gods have a sense of humour. This time it looks like they just have good sense.

Honourable mentions to James Spader, Felicity Huffman, S. Epatha Merkerson, Doris Roberts and Patricia Arquette, not only because she is the mother of Thomas Jane’s baby, but also because she mentioned Katrina’s victims and the soldiers that need to get back home. It had nothing to do with a television show about which little is known.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Big Town Girls

October is a great month for all of those attached to what has been called the Girl Group Sound, that which captured the hearts of AM Radio listeners in the early 60s and culminated in the rousing success of the Supremes. There were, of course, other cultural heirs or heiresses as the case may be, such as Labelle, The Pointer Sisters, TLC, Destiny’s Child, Sister Sledge et al. The Girl Group Sound, however, had a mini-era all its own between Elvis Presley, Chapter One and Beatlemania. It could be speculated that the Kennedy assassination had strong cultural implications for the USA and it certainly paved the way for the British Invasion.

In 1963 there were great gems like "One Fine Day" by the Chiffons, "Heat Wave" by Martha and the Vandellas, "Da Doo Ron Ron" by the Crystals among many others. Phil Spector, Motown, Cameo-Parkway and the Brill Building writers all did their best to maintain the music. Obviously it was music sung by young women who had trouble adjusting to their hormones or sometimes not but there was more to it than that. It was music rooted in Black Culture with the call and response that came from work songs and spirituals, never better secularized and commercialized in songs like Heat Wave.

Sometimes the umbrella is much too broad for this nomenclature in that those who organize these compilations simply include anyone who was female that sang in the 60s, but that is easily forgivable. Those who have an addiction to this type of music go for it anyway.

Rhino Records via WEA Distribution will release a four CD box set entitled Girl Group Sounds, Lost & Found notable for two reasons, it includes performers who don’t belong here, e.g. Cilla Black and Connie Francis and it has some hard to find gems, one of which is Ms. Francis’ “Don’t Ever Leave Me” a uncharacteristic foray into the Brill Building sound for her written by Ellie Greenwich.

There is also the hitherto unavailable Shirley Matthews’ “Big Town Boy” written by Ed Rambeau. (Look for him in the music section of Column of Life website as well as his own.) It’s a big song with a big sound by Shirley and the Big Town Girls. With this release at least there is the opportunity to hear great female singers like Madeline Bell, Julie Driscoll, Syreeta Wright and Evie Sands whose “Anyway You Want Me” finally made it into an accessible import reissue, here there is her “Take Me For a Little While.”

Here’s the distributor blurb:

It’s the kiss that will be heard ‘round the world: Rhino salutes the fabulous girl group genre with what is – amazingly and historically – the first boxed set ever to do so! This supersized set collection luxuriates through almost five hours of the plethora of sounds, styles, and subjects that represent the beautiful, vibrant and influential music women were making in the early to mid-60s. A footnote to the pop and rock of the day no longer, the raw emotion and spirited savvy of girl group greatness finally gets its due. Compilation producer Sheryl Farber notes: ‘Fans have always known how rich and varied this music is – how the sound encompasses soul, garage, Bacharach-style pop, countrypolitan, the British take on the American girl group sound, and more.”

The Marketing points that follow include a campaign with a gay focus (Really?) in top 10 markets and Listening Parties on AOL, MSN/Windows, Media and Quicktime.

Turd Blossom Strikes Again

From Arianna Huffington:

Karl Rove, President Bush's top political advisor and deputy White House chief of staff, spoke at businessman Teddy Forstmann's annual off the record gathering in Aspen, Colorado this weekend. Here is what Rove had to say that the press wasn't allowed to report on.

On Katrina: The only mistake we made with Katrina was not overriding the local government...

On The Anti-War Movement: Cindy Sheehan is a clown. There is no real anti-war movement. No serious politician, with anything to do with anything, would show his face at an anti-war rally...

On Bush's Low Poll Numbers: We have not been good at explaining the success in Iraq. Polls go up and down and don't mean anything...

On Iraq: There has been a big difference in the region. Iraq will transform the Middle East...

On Judy Miller And Plamegate: Judy Miller is in jail for reasons I don't really understand...

On Joe Wilson: Joe Wilson and I attend the same church but Joe goes to the wacky mass...

In attendance at the conference, among others were: Harvey Weinstein, Brad Grey, Michael Eisner, Les Moonves, Tom Freston, Tom Friedman, Bob Novak, Barry Diller, Martha Stewart, Margaret Carlson, Alan Greenspan, Andrea Mitchell, Norman Pearlstein and Walter Isaacson.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Giovanni's Room

Giovanni’s Room was written in 1956 and owning the Dell Paperback 1964 edition provides a looking glass not only into the world as it once was for gay men but also what it meant to be an adolescent, necessarily closeted, homosexual. Fortunately it was a moving story written by a gifted and sensitive man.

James Baldwin wrote the story but did not speak literally to the black experience, but rather he spoke of a young white expatriate struggling with his sexuality. David, the narrator finds himself in Paris of the 1950s. It is a France, a Europe struggling with the new postwar American arrogance. It is, as always, a love/hate relationship. It is reciprocal.

David comes from McCarthy’s United States of Xenophobia, but boiling right underneath it is James Dean sensual, rebellious America on the verge of bursting forth with the Rock’n’Roll Era. An America it might be said on the verge of dealing openly with its sensual dark side.

David already traumatized by a teenage experience which started out beautifully enough that ended with both externalized and internalized homophobia meets Giovanni, a bartender.

Giovanni, if you will, is the Negro of the piece. He is a Southern Italian already an object of derision in France and Europe. In Giovanni David confronts himself and Giovanni already dealing with his own history, finds himself a part of David’s personal nightmare. Hence the reciprocal love/hate: America/Europe, Wasp/Mediterranean, Black/White and Gay/Straight.

Baldwin’s novel is laced with speeches and scenes that describe the anxiety of the time but point to the joy and beauty that can be. It is an engagingly beautiful and melancholy story.

Giovanni is eventually sent to the guillotine. Yes, France in the 60s, had capital punishment but ti wasn't ostensibly for his sexuality but an accusation of murder. Much is made throughout the novel, especially in Giovanni’s speeches about privacy and respecting what people do between each other. It is David’s reflection that is read as the time approaches.

David’s older friend Jacques was the man who introduced the two. His advice to David is the most telling and puts it all in perspective:

‘I don’t understand him,’ I said at last. ‘I don’t know what his friendship means; I don’t know what he means by friendship.’

Jacques laughed. ‘You don’t know what he means by friendship but you have the feeling it may not be safe. You are afraid it may change you. What kind of friendship have you had?’

I said nothing.

‘Or for that matter,’ he continued, ‘what kind of love affairs?’

I was silent for so long that he teased me, saying, ‘Come out, come out, wherever you are!’

And I grinned feeling chilled.

‘Love him,’ said Jacques, with vehemence, ‘love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters? And how long, at best, can it last? Since you are both men and have everywhere to go? Only five minutes, I assure you, only five minutes, and most of that, helas! In the dark. And if you think of them as dirty , then they will be dirty – they will be dirty because you will be giving nothing, and you will be despising your flesh and his. But you can make your time together anything but dirty; you can give each other something which will make both of you better – forever – if you will not be ashamed, if you only not play it safe.’ He paused, watching me, and then looked down to his cognac. ‘You play it safe long enough,’ he said, in a different tone, ‘and you will end up trapped in your own dirty body, forever and forever and forever – like me.’ And he finished his cognac …

Now that much is being made about Brokeback Mountain, one can only wonder what happened to Merchant Ivory’s project for Giovanni’s Room, a worthy subject for filming. James Baldwin was a consummate painter of humanity. The experience painted in David’s world was almost a half century ago. It resonates today.

Love Is a Force of Nature

“But people can’t, unhappily, invent their mooring posts, their lovers and their friends, anymore than they can invent their parents. Life gives these and also takes them away and the great difficulty is to say Yes to life.”

… from James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

The Art of Love

Spreading my wings
To the art of love
As weary my soul
Could you be my goal
Would you carry on
Both our dreams
A place where time is
Completely aware
All your teardrops are
mine too
Into one sea they'll
Their existence is not
Always will remain
Let's spread our wings
To the art of love
And then praised is the
To give

David Linx and James Baldwin

Love is A Force of Nature

Yes, the New York Times is great reading material and a source for inspiration. This paragraph is from last Thursday’s article on The Toronto Film Festival:

One of the most justly anticipated and authentic selections in the festival were Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain,” his adaptation of the E. Annie Prouix short story. Referred to as the “gay cowboys” movie and pegged by at least one wag as a “Gone With the Wind” for gay men, the film stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall as cowboys who, in the early 1960s, begin a love affair that spans more than two decades and survives various wives and girlfriends, among other obstacles. Althoug Mr. Lee tends to make his West look as postcard-pretty as a Marlboro advertisement, he does right by his stars and, in a crucial supporting role, the undervalued Michelle Williams. Mr. Gyllenhaal’s sensitive portrait will be no surprise to his admirers; Mr. Ledger’s wrenching performance is the stuff of Hollywood History

Tfl.org has a fan listing for the short story where the first image is found. There are about 85 members.

"Gone With the Wind" for gay men!? Quite frankly. Give a damn. This may be one of those cases where jumping up and down and pointing a finger is appropriate.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Always Remember

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Love Is A Force

Massachusetts Rejects Bill to Eliminate Gay Marriage

Published: September 15, 2005

BOSTON, Sept. 14 - In a sign that the legalization of same-sex marriage has changed the political landscape in Massachusetts, the legislature soundly defeated a proposed constitutional amendment on Wednesday to ban gay marriage and create civil unions, an amendment that lawmakers gave preliminary approval to in a raucous constitutional convention last year.

Wednesday's 157-to-39 vote by a joint session of the House and Senate partly reflected the fact that some legislators now consider same-sex marriage more politically acceptable, after a largely conflict-free year in which some 6,600 same-sex couples got married and lawmakers who supported it got re-elected.

The vote also reflected some lawmakers' reluctance to pass a bill that could either withdraw rights from already married couples or create a class of married gay men and lesbians and a class of those unable to marry.

Indeed, Senator Brian P. Lees, a Republican who is the minority leader and who co-sponsored the amendment, which received preliminary approval from the legislature in March 2004 in a 105-to-92 vote, said he voted against it Wednesday.

"Today, gay marriage is the law of the land," Mr. Lees said, noting that same-sex marriage became legal in May 2004. Voting for the amendment, he said, would mean "taking action against our friends and neighbors who today are currently enjoying the benefits of marriage."

Saying he had heard from over 7,000 constituents, most against the amendment, Mr. Lees added, "Gay marriage has begun and life has not changed for the citizens of the commonwealth, with the exception of those who can now marry who could not before."

Wednesday's vote also reflected a change in the strategy of opponents of same-sex marriage.

Last year some legislators who opposed both same-sex marriage and civil unions voted for the amendment because they considered it their best chance at preserving marriage for heterosexuals.

This year, after it appeared that the amendment would fail, many opponents of same-sex marriage started a citizens' petition for a stricter amendment that would ban same-sex marriage without creating civil unions.

The earliest that amendment, endorsed by Gov. Mitt Romney, could become law is 2008. Supporters must get 65,000 signatures, the votes of 50 lawmakers in two consecutive legislative sessions and the approval of voters in a referendum. Both sides expect a difficult fight.

Representative Philip Travis, a Democrat and opponent of same-sex marriage, argued Wednesday for the stricter amendment.

"The union of two women and two men can never consummate a marriage," Mr. Travis said. "It's physically impossible. We can't get around that."

In contrast to last year's long sessions packed with activists, Wednesday's session lasted two hours and drew smaller, calmer crowds.

Juan Carlos Huertas was one of a few dozen opponents of same-sex marriage singing Christian hymns at the statehouse. Mr. Huertas said that the idea that marriage is between a man and a woman is "written in the Scripture."

Nearby were about 200 supporters of same-sex marriage, some with T-shirts or buttons that said "I Do."

For weeks, same-sex couples and supporters met with legislators to present their case. Elaine Lamy, 49, and Chris Hannibal, 50, of Quincy, who married last year, met with Representative Bruce J. Ayers and Senator Michael W. Morrissey, who was also lobbied by the women's heterosexual neighbors. On Wednesday, the women saw the two legislators, both Democrats who had supported the amendment, vote against it.

Senator James E. Timilty, a Democrat who last year supported the amendment, also changed his mind.

"When I looked in the eyes of the children living with these couples," Mr. Timilty said, "I decided that I don't feel at this time that same-sex marriage has hurt the commonwealth in any way. In fact I would say that in my view it has had a good effect for the children in these families."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Maureen Dowd

We love to reprint the ever brilliant Ms. Dowd:

A Fatal Incuriosity

Published: September 14, 2005

I hate spending time in hospitals and nursing homes. I find them to be some of the most depressing places on earth.

Maybe that's why the stories of the sick and elderly who died, 45 in a New Orleans hospital and 34 in St. Rita's nursing home in the devastated St. Bernard Parish outside New Orleans, haunt me so.

You're already vulnerable and alone when suddenly you're beset by nature and betrayed by your government.

At St. Rita's, 34 seniors fought to live with what little strength they had as the lights went out and the water rose over their legs, over their shoulders, over their mouths. As Gardiner Harris wrote in The Times, the failed defenses included a table nailed against a window and a couch pushed against a door.

Several electric wheelchairs were gathered near the front entrance, maybe by patients who dreamed of evacuating. Their drowned bodies were found swollen and unrecognizable a week later, as Mr. Harris reported, "draped over a wheelchair, wrapped in a shower curtain, lying on a floor in several inches of muck."

At Memorial Medical Center, victims also suffered in 100-degree heat and died, some while waiting to be rescued in the four days after Katrina hit.

As Louisiana's death toll spiked to 423 yesterday, the state charged St. Rita's owners with multiple counts of negligent homicide, accusing them of not responding to warnings about the hurricane. "In effect," State Attorney General Charles Foti Jr. said, "I think that their inactions resulted in the death of these people."

President Bush continued to try to spin his own inaction yesterday, but he may finally have reached a patch of reality beyond spin. Now he's the one drowning, unable to rescue himself by patting small black children on the head during photo-ops and making scripted attempts to appear engaged. He can keep going back down there, as he will again on Thursday when he gives a televised speech to the nation, but he can never compensate for his tragic inattention during days when so many lives could have been saved.

He made the ultimate sacrifice and admitted his administration had messed up, something he'd refused to do through all of the other screw-ups, from phantom W.M.D. and the torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo to the miscalculations on the Iraq occupation and the insurgency, which will soon claim 2,000 young Americans.

How many places will be in shambles by the time the Bush crew leaves office?

Given that the Bush team has dealt with both gulf crises, Iraq and Katrina, with the same deadly mixture of arrogance and incompetence, and a refusal to face reality, it's frightening to think how it will handle the most demanding act of government domestic investment since the New Deal.

Even though we know W. likes to be in his bubble with his feather pillow, the stories this week are breathtaking about the lengths the White House staff had to go to in order to capture Incurious George's attention.

Newsweek reported that the reality of Katrina did not sink in for the president until days after the levees broke, turning New Orleans into a watery grave. It took a virtual intervention of his top aides to make W. watch the news about the worst natural disaster in a century. Dan Bartlett made a DVD of newscasts on the hurricane to show the president on Friday morning as he flew down to the Gulf Coast.

The aides were scared to tell the isolated president that he should cut short his vacation by a couple of days, Newsweek said, because he can be "cold and snappish in private." Mike Allen wrote in Time about one "youngish aide" who was so terrified about telling Mr. Bush he was wrong about something during the first term, he "had dry heaves" afterward.

The president had to be truly zoned out not to jump at the word "hurricane," given that he has always used his father's term as a reverse playbook and his father almost lost Florida in 1992 because of his slow-footed response to Hurricane Andrew. And W.'s chief of staff, Andy Card, was the White House transportation secretary the senior President Bush sent to the rescue after FEMA bungled that one.

W. has said he prefers to get his information straight up from aides, rather than filtered through newspapers or newscasts. But he surrounds himself with weak sisters who don't have the nerve to break bad news to him, or ideologues with agendas that require warping reality or chuckleheaded cronies like Brownie.

The president should stop haunting New Orleans, looking for that bullhorn moment. It's too late.

For Dancin' Fools

“David’s mixes are so amazing. He can blend anything together,” says superstar DJ Manny Lehman of his Madtizzy brethren. “He is a human Metronome.”

As the original Circuit DJ, David Knapp has assumed many similarly flattering characterizations during an illustrious career that has spanned two decades. Often referred to as The People’s DJ because of his unique ability to make each crowd feel like it’s the most important party he’s ever played, David is truly there for the audience as much as they are there for him.

In the midst of South Beach’s rebirth in the early 90s as the inevitable international nightlife mecca, David Knapp graduated from the University of Miami Law School and passed the Bar Exam. While he could have easily pursued a lucrative career practicing law, he instead decided to follow his passion for music. And he hasn’t looked back once yet.

An early gig at Boomerang (later known as Groove Jet) led to a career-defining residency at Kremlin. It was during his time at the Lincoln Road Mall hotspot (now called Score) that David first got involved with Miami’s White Party, the annual series of benefit events held during Thanksgiving week. David went on to headline the signature Sunday night party at the lavish waterfront Italian Renaissance-style palazzo, Vizcaya, for an astonishing 10 years. With White Party widely considered the crown jewel of the gay party Circuit, David became its honorary, albeit disarmingly humble, king.

While traveling the world making appearances at the multitude of similar Circuit weekends that popped up across the country and around the world, the Billboard-reporting DJ forged key relationships with some of New York’s heaviest hitters. Having duly impressed legendary DJ/producer Junior Vasquez on several occasions, David was invited by the master himself to guest DJ at Palladium and Tunnel, and eventually landed the ultimate guest residency at Twilo in 1999. He’s also played Boy’s Life, Limelight, the Empire State Pride Agenda benefit, Heritage of Pride’s Pier Dance, and has the distinction of being the first non-New York-based DJ to play the Saint-at-Large Black Party two years in a row. David currently plays numerous parties throughout the year at Splash.

Another similarly prolific alliance with über-promoter John Blair resulted in David sharing a residency at Roxy with Victor Calderone and his being commissioned to remix Volume 1 of Blair’s NYC’s Best DJs CD series. David has also remixed several White Party benefit CDs for Centaur Music, as well as others in the Global Groove and Party Groove [?] series. Gentleman’s Quarterly also named David one of the six most influential DJs in America in its July 2000 issue. He was also featured alongside Danny Tenaglia, Eddie X, Junior Vasquez and Victor Calderone in the 2002 [?] documentary about global DJs called Dance Culture In The Mix.

In early 2000, David signed on with Madtizzy where George Dellinger has managed his infinitely fertile career since. David has also helped scout new talent for George to bring onboard. His efforts so far have yielded one of the Circuit’s most in-demand talents signing with Madtizzy -- Chad Jack.

With past and present residencies at many of North America’s most influential nightclubs under his belt, including San Francisco’s Sanctuary parties, Coliseum in Fort Lauderdale, as well as regular trips to spin at Le Queen in Paris and Dome in Tel Aviv, David concentrates much of his effort these days on local gigs in his current hometown of Atlanta at Jungle, Red Chair, and the highly acclaimed Fruitcake Production events. David will also headlines the prestigious Joining Hearts event. Having established a family there with his partner Scott, adopted son Ryan (who, incidentally, celebrates his birthday Winter Party Weekend), and adopted daughter Kira, David is also building a studio and plans to produce and remix music with local colleagues Greg Dean and Dave Hansen. David has most recently debuted original remixes of Gioia, Funky Green Dogs, Lonnie Gordon, DJ Vic, and Amerie.

There remain few parties or cities David has yet to play, but among the many highlights are parties most recently in Sao Paolo, Rio, Thailand, Zurich, Mexico City, Mykonos, Paris, and Tel Aviv and just recently played Atlanta, San Francisco, Toronto and DC Pride events. David will be doing Circuit Asia in Thailand in the fall, and will be playing the big SLDN aircraft carrrier benefit “Momentum on the Midway” in San Diego for the second year in a row. He also has enjoyed many recurrent gigs at Avalon in Boston, Chicago’s Crobar, Hydrate, and Circuit, Mark Baker’s Arabian Knights after-hours in Orlando during Gay Disney, and the sunset cruise in Provincetown during the July 4th holiday. A highly accomplished and archetypal DJ who helped frame the modern party paradigm, David Knapp is a legend in his own right who continues to influence trends in music while entertaining legions of fans around the world. And he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

-- Written by Matt Kalkhoff,

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Morning in Air America

Air America provides an outlet for the progressive person these days, the progressive person who lives an ordinary life and needs to have an expression for frustration or have someone else express it. That being said there are more than a few difficulties with it.

Hearing Jerry Springer apologize for his anger after he expresses it is more than annoying, but still one wants to agree with the cause of his anger and its expression. But, Jerry, why poop all over it?

Ms. Rhodes is and will probably always be shrill. Hurricane Katrina at least afforded her an appropriate venue for her rants.

Mr. Franken and Ms. Garafolo afford the best opportunities to find kindred spirits.

Mark Riley and Marc Maron start out the day with Morning Sedition. These wacky irreverant guys make it sound as if one has been lost in a progressive locker room. Never more so than Monday morning when David Poland spewed forth his review of Brokeback Mountain from the Toronto FIlm Festival.

Poland started out by expressing his discomfort with romanticism and the expression of gay sexuality on film. Why did he then review this film? Probably just so he could snicker about gay sexual expression. Hello? Progressive Talk Radio? Yes? Maybe?

Let's ignore the fact that the man sounds like an effeminate frat boy with an attitude and then wants the listener to believe that the subject matter of this film bothers him after which Mr. Maron engages him in banter that makes homosexuality sound like something that adolescent boys laugh about in the locker room. Oh and then he tells us that the plot was thin and he can't understand why two men would have problems coming out 11 years after Stonewall. Does Poland live in Mr. Bush's America?

THIS is progressive talk radio?

Yo, Air America! Gay people listen to you because you are supposedly progressive. Wake up and smell the capuccino! You get what we're saying here? Morning Sedition is only as much fun and as relevant as the maturity and the intelligence of its listeners. R-E-S-P-E-C-T them.

Monday, September 12, 2005

There are Fortunate Sons ...

... and then there are fortunate sons. Those who live in the White House who could give a rat's ass and don't know whether to wind their asses or wipe their watches and then there are those who take their good fortune and become Anderson Cooper:

An Anchor Who Reports Disaster News With a Heart on His Sleeve

Published: September 12, 2005

The CNN anchor Anderson Cooper strikes a pose in the September issue of the men's magazine Maxim, modeling a sharp black suit set off by his prematurely gray hair. A stylized jumble of broken television sets is piled high beside him.
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It is a very different Mr. Cooper who has captivated CNN viewers in the two weeks since Hurricane Katrina crashed ashore. The jumble of broken stuff is there, but it is real remnants of homes and lives washed away. Mr. Cooper's heart-on-his-sleeve demeanor has been anything but slick and packaged.

The 38-year-old anchor has dressed down officials in interviews with polite righteous indignation in behalf of hurricane victims. At least twice he choked up on air, once abruptly stopping his commentary about lost homes and waving away the camera as he looked about to burst into tears. CNN's camera occasionally has caught him playing with stray dogs. He says he has no intention of returning to his hip New York existence any time soon.

"Life is funny like that," Mr. Cooper said of the fashion spreads (he is also in Esquire this month) as he took a break on Friday in Baton Rouge, La.

Mr. Cooper's Sept. 1 interview with Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, marked a turning point in the tone of hurricane coverage as he snapped when she began thanking federal officials for their recovery efforts.

"Excuse me, Senator, I'm sorry for interrupting," Mr. Cooper interjected. "I haven't heard that, because, for the last four days, I've been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated.

"And when they hear politicians slap - you know, thanking one another, it just, you know, it kind of cuts them the wrong way right now, because literally there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours."

His comments pushed right up to the line between tough questioning and confrontational advocacy journalism, but viewers responded.

CNN last week expanded Mr. Cooper's prime-time role, teaming him for two hours with Aaron Brown, in addition to his 7 p.m. weeknight show, "Anderson Cooper 360°." "He is the anchorperson of the future," Jonathan Klein, the president of CNN/U.S., said in an interview. He is "an anti-anchorperson," he said, adding: "He's all human. He's not putting it on."

"I don't feel like I'm doing anything different," Mr. Cooper said of his work on the hurricane, comparing it to 1992 reports he did from Somalia for the Channel One classroom news broadcast.

Mr. Cooper said that he did not believe in taking sides and did not think he had done so. "I am listening to people's questions and getting answers," he said. "I am least of all interested in any TV anchor's opinion, and least of all my own."

"This is life and death," he added. "This is not some blow-dried pundit standing outraged for some ratings, which is what cable news often boils down to."

As for his emotional moments: "It's absolutely not true; it's lies, lies, spread by that conservative or liberal agenda, whatever it is," Mr. Cooper quipped, before conceding: "I have been tearing up on this story more than any story I've worked on. I can't really explain why that is." He has tried not to do it on camera, he said, because "who wants to see that?" But, he added: "It's hard not to be moved. The fact that it is in the United States, for me, added a layer and dimension to the story."

The producer David Perozzi worked with Mr. Cooper at ABC News, where he reported for "20/20 Downtown" and was anchor of the overnight newscast. Mr. Perozzi said that his friend "has shown a certain amount of heart and compassion," adding: "He does care about people deeply."

When no major news organization hired him after his graduation from Yale in 1989, Mr. Cooper said he had a friend make a fake press pass and he headed overseas on his own, sending Channel One stories he taped with a small home-video camera.

His bare-bones training in Somalia was a precursor for his current assignment.

"When you travel with him, he's no joke," Mr. Perozzi said. "He's really intense. He could care less how he looks, his hair and makeup. If there's no cameraperson, he grabs the camera."

For all that drive, this is the same person who quit ABC News in 2000 to be the host of ABC's reality show "The Mole" when the news division told him to choose between the two jobs. One executive publicly predicted that Mr. Cooper would never work in news again.

"I think at that time he was sort of at a crossroads in his life and wasn't sure about TV news," Mr. Perozzi said. "But it doesn't seem to have hurt him."

CNN hired him in December 2001, giving him his show in 2003. He often heads to disaster zones, and has reported on the December 2004 tsunami and the Niger famine.

"It sometimes feels as if we need to bungee-cord him to the anchor chair," Mr. Klein said, adding that he is happy to have Mr. Cooper stay in the South indefinitely. "He's young and healthy, he can go forever."

Mr. Cooper said that his mother, the socialite Gloria Vanderbilt, "is a little concerned and freaked out" about his nonstop work, but that he has no plans to return home.

"I can't imagine going back," Mr. Cooper said. "I'm going to have to at some point, but I don't know what I'm going to do, I don't know," he repeated, his voice trailing away.