Sunday, July 02, 2006

My week in review, part 1

Catch up time.

MONDAY: Her Majesty The King, a retelling of the English War of the Roses through the eyes of Margaret of Anjou, Queen to the feeble Henry VI. This was produced down in Soho at HERE. I barely knew anything about the War of the Roses, other than that it was a conflict between the Houses of York and Lancaster for the throne of England. I didn't even know who won--my English history doesn't really go back before Henry VIII, and he was of the House of Tudor. So the subject matter was basically new to me--and the play did help me understand it a little more. Sort of. At least I now know who won.

Margaret was born into a family where the women exercised authority, and were active participants in politics (Anjou is in France, BTW). Married (at 15) to the weak, maybe mentally disturbed Henry VI, she took over the fight to keep him on his throne. At least that's the way playwright Sarah Overman explains it.

The play was convincing, though how far it strayed from the truth I have no idea. History tends to be written by the victors, and Margaret lost. The performances were very good, and most of the actors had to portray more than one character. A very interesting device was used to handle flashbacks: two actresses, one a bit younger than the other, portrayed Margaret, wearing identical dresses.

I had a good time. HERE's staff was very accomodating, though the facilities do leave a little bit to be desired--a pillar in the middle of the audience, not to mention one in the middle of the stage, made things a little difficult sometimes. And a trip to the restrooms requires one to exit to the street, go a number of yards to another entrance, then downstairs a good way back towards the way one came. It was interesting, I think unique in my experience, to have the urinals named for people, though.

WEDNESDAY: My usual open house at Crossdressers International. Afterwards some of us went to Will Clark's Porno Bingo--except it was (at least for the evening) renamed Broadway Bingo, and no porn stars were present. The reason was that some (or at least this week's) beneficiaries of the event (all proceeds go to the featured organization) objected to the porn connection.

After three games (I didn't win) we went down to the Monster Bar for Jesse Volt's drag show. They were shooting some sort of film while we were waiting, and sometimes the lights did get rather bright. Jesse's show was quite nice, including a couple of nice songs sung live by Epiphany, who is talented, and young and beautiful. Afterwards Edie, in male mode, came over to say hello. She said she had seen us going upstairs at The Threepenny Opera, and that we should have come backstage after the performance. I had to tell her that I didn't know how. Oh well, I would really have liked to do that.

THURSDAY: My last (thank goodness) LGBT pride event of the month: Our Pride 2006, sponsored by The Alliance, the Gay-Straight Alliance of the New York State Courts, and my group, the LGBT Law Association of Greater New York (LeGaL). It was even co-sponsored by my LGBT Issues Committee of the New York County Law Assn.--this despite the fact that it took place in Kings County: specifically, in the Brooklyn Borough Hall. I made it there just before it really started to rain--and found that I was the only one from LeGaL there, apart from our administrator. So again I was dragooned into making a little speech, as I was at the City Bar event last week.

This event featured remarks by Susan Sommer, Senior Counsel of Lambda Legal and lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the same-sex marriage lawsuit in New York, Hernandez v. Robles. Oral arguments before the Court of Appeals (New York's highest court) were May 31 (webcast). She spoke at some length, and took questions from the audience. She said they expected a decision any day now, very possibly Wednesday or Thursday.

The second speaker was supposed to be State Sen. Tom Duane, but he was delayed. Thus we got to the reception a bit early. We could see the rain was very heavy outside, but there was plenty of food, soda and wine, so no one was in a hurry to leave. The turnout wasn't so great, probably because of the weather predictions. So we ate and drank and mingled for a while. An aide to the Brooklyn Borough President (absent due to illness) introduced himself and asked if I lived in Brooklyn. He was rather disappointed when I said I didn't. He explained they are looking for a transgender person active in civic affairs to honor at next year's pride celebration. I took his card, and said if I thought of anyone suitable I'd let him know.

Eventually Sen. Duane did show up, through the pouring rain. He did get a chance to make his remarks, which soon became quite humorous. He noted that nobody was fighting same-sex marriage back when gay and lesbian groups, especially some of the lesbian ones, said they wanted no part of marriage. There was no "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the military when gays and lesbians avoided military service. Only when they started wanting these things did opponents pop up and object. So Duane said that if LGBT people want something, we should say we don't. Then we'll get it.

Afterwards, he chatted with various people, and posed for pictures. I chatted with his aide, Colin Casey. We had a nice talk about reapportionment, both of the New York Congressional districts and the State Senate, and also about his job.

Finally the rain let up, and I ducked into the subway for the trip back to Manhattan. I went to Lips for a couple of frozen cosmos and to see Jesse Volt's show there.

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