Tag: New York

Cousin challenges Libous on Gay Marriage

[Editor’s Note:  This is an open letter to NY Senator Tom Libous from his cousin, Michael.  He asked that we publish it for him in hopes of convincing the Senator to support marriage equality legislation.  I am publishing this letter in its full form.  This letter does not specifically reflect my opinion or the opinions of the GaySocialites Media Group (GSMG) or anyone affiliated with GaySocialites.com.  – Jack Barbosa, Associate Editor, GSMG.]

 

LibousCousin

Dear Cousin Tom…

I wish I were contacting you with some scandalous family news, but I’m not.

Gay cousin Michael (Libous) here with some thoughts I need to share. (Governor Cuomo asked me to contact you.)

As you know, our state is in a ‘state’ right now pondering the question of gay marriage and all of its trappings. Having recently met a man with whom I hope to spend the last trimester of my life, many questions arise regarding our current state of civil equality.

I’m sure you’re aware that approximately 1000 federal and some 700 state rights are currently not available to me as a gay New Yorker. This sickens me.

I read online the other day that you’re co-sponsoring a bill to declare null and void (according to NY State Law) gay marriages that are performed in other states.

I can only assume that some of your constituents may have persuaded you to vote against gay marriage previously. But I am perplexed as to why you would LEAD the charge with a bill to suffocate the civil rights of many of your constituents and family members (me) while so many other states are embracing equality.  WOW!

I remember how our parents—and sitto and jiddo (what we called our Lebanese grandparents)— struggled to overcome the feelings of not being adequate enough, American enough, or educated enough to be successful in Binghamton.  And yet they held their heads high, overcoming social prejudice in order to ensure a more level playing field from which their families could grow.  These are the experiences that homosexuals have on a daily basis as they struggle to succeed against all odds—the experiences of the freedom riders, Rosa Parks, and the suffragettes. Your bill would deny same-sex couples basic legal rights regarding health care, property, family leave—and even adoption.

I guess the truth is that I could stomp my feet, wave my hands and yell from the rooftops about equality, but it might not do any good. What I really wish is that everybody reading this right now—all you heterosexuals—would take a moment to remember your cousin… your brother… your sister… your neighbor… your friend… your CHILD—or a friend of a friend—who’s homosexual. Call my Cousin Tom Libous right now. Here’s the number: (518) 455-2677. (It literally takes 2 minutes to leave a message with his staff.) Ask him to lead us down a new path—a strong path—a reasonable path—toward equality—and to lead us away from the prejudices of yesteryear.

That’s what’s on my mind Tom.  Hello to Fran and the kids. Thanks for your time.

Cousin Michael

Theatre Review: “The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore”

by Jonathan Warman

I’d only ever read this Tennessee Williams drama before, and I must say it plays even better than I thought it would. Structured with great originality and daring, it shows more of his fire and talent than, say, Summer and Smoke or Night of the Iguana – and also puts his wicked humor on abundant display.

In The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, Flora Goforth (Olympia Dukakis), a wealthy, widowed American socialite, has retreated from the world to write her memoirs. Without warning, handsome and mysterious visitor Christopher Flanders (Darren Pettie) arrives at her picturesque Italian mountaintop villa to keep Flora company. Their relationship plays out over two summer days, as the ocean surf booms below, and as Flora races against time and wrestles with her impending death.

Dukakis happily sinks her teeth into this role packed with red meat. While there are some nuances about the masks that Flora wears that Dukakis misses, she goes right for the jugular, never a bad choice with the always-hot Williams. Pettie does a fine job balancing the mercenary and compassionate sides of Flanders, even if he isn’t quite as much of a sensualist as the role seems to require. Edward Hibbert works a fine edge between camp and brutal honesty as the Witch of Capri, a deliciously bitchy role legendarily played by Noël Coward in Boom the film version of Milk Train.

There’s a strange thing that’s going on with contemporary theatre reviews of Tennessee Williams. Back when Milk Train first opened, critics and commentators were taking to describing Williams plays as “lurid”, “excessive”, “florid” and “overwrought” – all basically code for “too damn queer”. Today’s critics have a tendency to receive those old opinions as factual, taking those epithets at face value and ignoring the venomous strain of homophobia that underlies them.

Thing is, you can find all the words I listed above in recent reviews of this production. Milk Train is, without a doubt, a colorful, eccentric, over-the-top, often intentionally campy play. It is also insightful, highly thought-provoking, sometimes hilarious but more often moving, and occasionally quite beautiful. It is a play to be reckoned with and taken seriously.

If this was a newly discovered 1963 play by an unknown playwright, I have no doubt that people would proclaim it for the visionary if flawed work it is. But because it’s Tennessee Williams, we get all this heinous, hateful bullshit rehashed. And, in honor of his 100th birthday, I say let’s stop it right now.

For tickets, click here.

For more reviews and interviews by Jonathan Warman, see his blog Drama Queen.

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