Browsing: Stage Hands

March – April, 2007

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THE IMAGE you see below was the first page of my biography at my website, TomBianchi.com. for the last seven years. This short version of my life from birth to graduation from law school told what I saw as most relevant about who I am. Recently, the company that provides banking services to my site (they collect membership subscriptions) informed me that this was a picture of an underage person and had to be removed. A law known as 18 U.S.C. 2257 has made companies like my banking agent the censoring instruments of the State. I was told that any representation of any kind of a minor is banned if it is associated with an “adult” site. Period.

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EVER SINCE the early days of Hollywood, actors and writers who abandoned “the Theatre” for the movies were thought to have sold their artistic souls to the celluloid devil. Douglas Carter Beane’s The Little Dog Laughed is the latest iteration of this paradigm.

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AFTER SEVENTEEN YEARS as an activist for the American Civil Liberties Union in San Francisco, Marcia Gallo started graduate school at the City University of New York, working with Martin Duberman and other luminaries at the center for lesbian and gay studies. Ten years later, at the age of 55, Marcia has published the results of her research, Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement.

The DOB was the first lesbian organization in the U.S., founded by Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin in San Francisco in 1955. Taking its name from the lesbian-themed “Songs of Bilitis” by French poet Pierre Louÿs, the DOB would soon start publishing a monthly magazine, The Ladder, which helped organize a national lesbian readership and eventually a political movement. Gallo’s book, which is the first full-length history of the DOB, is based on the author’s intensive archival research and interviews with surviving members of the group.

I conducted this interview with Marcia in my apartment in Manhattan in November 2006. – Sarah Schulman

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Haggard Scandal Redux  The twin scandals of ex-Congressman Mark

Foley and (ex-?) Reverend Ted Haggard escaped notice in the last BTW

(too obvious?); but here are two footnotes on the more entertaining of

the two, Haggard, who didn’t merely fall from grace but plunged into

the abyss. Former head of the National Association of Evangelicals,

Haggard got busted for hiring a male hustler for sex and for scoring crystal meth from the same gentleman (who’s said to be writing his memoirs as we speak).

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CHRISTINE M. CANO begins her fascinating book on just how Proust’s novel was published with a remark by Anatole France that seems doubly cruel, considering that Proust had once considered France his mentor: “Life is too short, and Proust is too long.” However, that is how many people regarded In Search of Lost Time when Proust tried to find a publisher for his enormous manuscript in the fall of 1912.

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Short reviews of Cast Out & The New Gay Teenager, and the movie: Fighting Tommy Reilly.

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A painter and photographer who’s acclaimed by some critics as the best portrait artist in American history, Thomas Eakins is today a very hot property. His 1875 painting The Gross Clinic, which depicts Dr. Samuel Gross performing surgery, is still in the news. Purchased by Thomas Jefferson University in 1878 for $200, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has recently fended off a bid for the painting rumored to be $68 million. Once considered too gory for general display, illustrating as it does Eakins’ thorough understanding of anatomy, it is now considered by some to be the greatest 19th-century American painting.

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BRITISH QUEER CINEMA? What’s that? This substantial collection of academic essays appears under a title that is less self-evident than it may appear, in respect of all three of its terms.

Pretty much all the contributors are obliged to discuss the knotty term “queer,” conceding that the word has invariably been applied to Amer-ican and continental European filmmaking, with the single exception of the late Derek Jarman’s oeuvre. They make such a meal of this rather unnecessary problem-establishing what “queer” is, and/or insisting it can’t be defined, and then meas-uring selected movies against sundry definitions and non-definitions-that the reader simply wants to say: “Get on with it!” Ultimately, characters, actors, directors, and writers are shunted under collective umbrella terms such as “lesbian/gay/ queer” anyhow. Everything I found interesting in these pieces had nothing to do with abstract or definitional crises.

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