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WITH THE DEATH of John Costelloe, the actor who played Jim “Johnny Cakes” Witowski on The Sopranos, fans of the landmark TV series (1999-2007) lost an important player in the show’s most gay-positive, and perhaps most crucial, story line. The 47-year-old actor and former New York City firefighter shot himself late last year in his basement bedroom in Brooklyn.

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… Mary Coble is a Washington, D.C.-based performance artist. This latest work, Aversion, was performed live, including a live webcast, at Conner Contemporary Art (a D.C. gallery) to a full house. Its purpose was to address the history-and, apparently, ongoing use-of electric shock therapy administered to gays and lesbians as a means of changing their sexual orientation. …

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… Colour Me Kubrick tells [Alan] Conway’s story. And it should have been a fascinating film. It might have said a great deal about the cult of celebrity, about a little man’s yearning to be a big one, about belief and gullibility, about the psychological and emotional relationships between con men and their marks. …

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Some scientists believe gay men and lesbians share a number of biological characteristics, including the length of fingers, density of fingerprint ridges, direction of hair whorl and other traits.

This article appears in the June 25, 2007 issue of New York Magazine.

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Before Night Falls, the memoir by Reinaldo Arenas, gay Cuban novelist and poet, political dissident and prisoner, foe of Castro’s repressive regime, was published posthumously in 1993 to immediate acclaim. … Several of my gay friends were reading the book and enthusiastically recommended it to me. One of them finally put a copy in my hands and I read it; instantly drawn in, I too fell in love with Arenas and his story, so engagingly told, so full of adventure, vivid personalities, sex, escapes, suicides, betrayals. I was gushing about it to a friend who said, “Why don’t you turn it into an opera?” Reflexively, I said that was impossible: far too episodic, with way too many characters. How could Before Night Falls possibly be staged?

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I spoke to Maupin via phone in San Francisco about his novel and the new film adaptation, about his æsthetic sensibility in general, and about his views on the future of gay and lesbian people.

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THE POWER of performance art-its ability to connect with you viscerally-is in the fact that it’s performed live. You the viewer may or may not commit to the performer on stage (or wherever), but when you do, there’s no hiding the effect. Indeed the reaction of the audience is intrinsically connected to the performance itself and informs the work’s effectiveness. But what if the performance went on with viewers who weren’t physically there but instead participated in real time in cyberspace? …

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ALTHOUGH PHOTOGRAPHER Robert Mapplethorpe has been dead for sixteen years, New York City’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has a vested interest in keeping his images, and public interest in them, alive. The late photographer left a sizable legacy to the museum (there’s a gallery named for him), and since 1992 the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation has given the institution 200 of his photographs and objects, making the Guggenheim’s collection the largest museum holding of Mapplethorpe’s work.

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“I don’t know if I will live to finish this. … I’ve watched too many sicken in a month and die by Christmas, so that a fatal sort of realism comforts me more than magic. All I know is this: The virus ticks in me.”

WITH these challenging words, which would soon become famous, Paul Monette began his 1988 work, Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir. In the same year, …

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