President Obama officially declared the Stonewall Inn, long recognized as the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement, a national monument this morning, making it the first monument to the struggle for LGBTQ equality.
The Stonewall became the center of a new movement for gay rights in June of 1969, when patrons at the well-known gay bar fought back against one of the NYPD’s periodic raids. The ensuing riots and their aftermath inspired many to act and organize in support of LGBTQ rights, creating the first movement of its kind in America. The Stonewall Inn became a national landmark in 2000 and a city landmark almost exactly a year ago.
In light of President Obama’s momentous meeting with Raul Castro in Cuba today, it’s worth pointing out this ghost sign on the corner of Avenue of the Americas and King Street. It’s one of the few remaining emblems of the countries of the Western Hemisphere to hang on lampposts along the avenue.
At 81 years old, D’yan Forest describes herself as a “young Betty White.” The octogenarian and veteran performer doesn’t mask her sexual conquests in grandma-speak. Indeed she speaks Millennial more fluently than some natives I know– she’s sex positive, has done her fair share of swiping left on Tinder, and is open-minded toward all kinds of people. Before I set off to the West Village apartment to meet D’yan where she’s lived since the ’60s, I phoned her and she assured me: “I’m very interesting, too, darling.” Click. It’s hard to argue with that: the multi-instrumentalist’s career spans at least three continents, and she can sing in nine languages. On top of all that, she’s now trying to hack it as a stand-up comic.
Center in red, Hilly Bodin as Snow White , Laura Careless as the Queen (Photo by Mark Shelby Perry, courtesy of Company XIV)
I was not feeling particularly delighted when I nestled into my seat at Company XIV‘s stage production of Snow White. Firstly, the theater smelled like a brothel before Yankee Candle Company was invented (intentionally, I assume), and Sundays are the last day I want to be getting all experimental with my olfactory receptors. All. Organs. Ache. Even my ability to laugh is usually squandered at this point– lolz are wasted on the youth, am I right? So when this baroque, gyrating, barely-clothed, indulgent mishmash of Versailles’s gaudiest decor, the charming Weimar cabaret, classical ballet, pole dancing, and remnants of the Brothers Grimm managed to turn my bottom-grazing sulk into 100-percent authentic laughter and delight, I was so, so happy I’d crawled out of my bed to be with Company XIV’s Snow White.
David Coss (top, right) with his Saxophonist and fans as they performed their final set at Garage on it’s closing night. (Photo: Nick McManus)
Last week, as part of our A Lot About a Plot series, we looked back on the history of some bygone jazz joints, including the Village Gate and Nick’s Tavern. Now you can add another Village venue to the list: Garage Restaurant & Cafe closed its doors on Sunday. So much for its claim of hosting “more live jazz than anywhere in the world.”
Still from Michel Auder film (via Light Industry / Facebook)
Michel Auder + Rebekah Rutkoff: Sunsets and Other Stars Tuesday, Dec. 15, 7:30 pm at Light Industry: $8 at the door
French artist, photographer, and filmmaker Michel Auder left France in the ’70s for New York City, where he’s resided ever since. He’s maybe best known as Cindy Sherman’s ex-husband (JK, but for real — how do you compete with Cindy Sherman?). Much of his video work (though apparently Auder “did not consider it fine art”) consists of ethnographic snapshots and sceney vignettes, the stuff of Auder’s cool Downtown life amongst artists like Annie Sprinkle, Larry Rivers, Hannah Wilke, among others.
But another good chunk of his focus was deadly personal. Take My Last Bag of Heroin (For Real), a 1993 piece which shows the filmmaker, who battled with heroin addiction for many years, breaking apart a glassine baggie of heroin onto a piece of aluminum foil and smoking the stuff. The video demonstrates the banality of drug use, often depicted as an explosively orgasmic experience, particularly in film.
Gus is a scuzzy dude with long stringy hair and a heroin problem– he resembles Jay Reatard in all the wrong ways and none of the right ones. At first it looks like he’s just another one of those trust-fund kids living in New York City with a seemingly endless opium supply chain and a cool old car, but turns out the Rolls Royce is stolen. A babe-ish tattoo artist finds this out the hard way. I mean, seriously, who ever responds to a guy yelling at you to “hop in” the car by actually hopping in the car? And why is she into this guy in the first place? He’s clearly high all the time. These questions, ladies and gentlemen, are exactly what’s regrettably pulling me into this film. Guilty pleasures, somebody’s gotta have em. Also, Iggy Pop has a cameo. Additional screenings daily (with the exception of Sunday Oct. 25th) at 10:50 am at IFC Center.
By the looks of things, October’s becoming something of a de facto Queer Film Month in New York City. Which is way cool, we’re always happy to see queer goings-on about town beyond Pride Month. And whether you’re a connoisseur of all things old and aging well, or live solely to soak up ever-refreshing nowness, we’ve got a couple of events that offer a slew of opportunities to attend LGBT movie happenings.
Next month, Oct. 27, will mark the second anniversary of Lou Reed’s passing, but his legacy lives on: on Oct. 30, Rhino will release a six-disc 45th anniversary edition of Velvet Underground’s Loaded, featuring three different mixes of the album, unreleased versions of tracks such as “Cool It Down” and “Sweet Jane,” a newly remastered version of the Live at Max’s Kansas City show from August 1970, an unreleased recording of a May 1970 club gig in Philadelphia, and other rarities. And the jam-packed box set is just the beginning of it. If you’re a fan of Lou and his wife and fellow creative dynamo Laurie Anderson, mark your calendars for the following.
You could ask your date what she thought about the movie or you could ask the directors. Some of our favorites will be at your service.
Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach talk Mistress America Gerwig appears Friday, Aug. 14 at 7:15 p.m., Baumbach appears Saturday, Aug. 15 at 7:15 p.m., at Sunshine Cinema, tickets $13.50
Lovebirds Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach will peel themselves away from each other for separate Q&As about their new movie Mistress America. You may be asking yourself, “Wait a minute? Didn’t the Squid and the Whale guy just do a Q&A for a new movie?” Well, yes, but While We’re Young was all the way back in March and he’s trying to beat Onur Tukel as Brooklyn’s most prolific filmmaker.
Something caught our eye among the experimental, unusual, and low-budget plays that comprise the Ice Factory Festival, a spotlight of “the most exciting downtown companies” that starts today. As the name implies, Karaoke Bacchae is a take on Euripides’ classic tragedy, The Bacchae. This reimagining takes place not in ancient Greece, but in a karaoke bar during the Stanley Cup. And instead of witnessing a fleshy Dionysus blob around in a flowing robe, we’re treated to an appropriately shirtless Iggy Pop (well, an actor playing Iggy Pop, at least) as a not-too-far-fetched stand-in for the party god. We just had to speak with playwright and director Jesse Freedman (co-founder of the production company, Meta-Phys Ed.) about his absurdist punk take on classical Greek theater.