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Today In GAY HISTORY
Thursday, August 6th
1857 - the German painter and printmaker CHRISTIAN WILHELM ALLERS was born on this date (d. 1915). Allers, the son of a merchant, was born in Hamburg. He first worked as a lithographer, and in 1877 he moved to Karlsruhe where he continued to work as a lithographer. In the Kunstakademie (state academy of fine arts) he was a scholar of Prof. Ferdinand Keller. From 1880-81 he served in the German navy in Kiel where Anton Alexander von Werner supported him. In Kiel he got to know Klaus Groth, who became a friend of his.
Allers became well-known when he published his collection of prints "Club Eintracht" in 1888. Several other books and maps (collections of prints) followed, e.g. about Bismarck, so at the beginning of the 1890s he was able to build a villa on Capri. He lived there for many years, also spending some time in Hamburg, Karlsruhe, and travelling around the world.
In the Autumn 1902, there was a scandal. Friedrich Alfred Krupp, another famous person living in Capri, was accused by some Italian newspapers of homosexuality. Some weeks later, Allers was accused, by court. Krupp died some weeks later, presumably by suicide. Allers managed to escape before the lawsuit began, which led to a sentence of 4½ years imprisonment, pronounced in absentia. According to the histoian Tito Fiorani, "Allers had distinctly homosexual tendencies" and liked to surround himself with young men, whom he often used as models."
Allers left Capri and began travelling around the world for more than 10 years, staying some time in New Zealand, Samoa, and Australia. During this time, he often used the pseudonym "W. Andresen", and earned money by making portraits of wealthy people. He died in 1915 in Karlsruhe some months after returning to Germany.
1911 - on this date the American actress and comedy legend LUCILLE BALL was born (d. 1989).
1928 - the iconic American artist ANDY WARHOL was born on this date (d. 1987). He became the central figure in the movement known as "pop art." After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became famous worldwide for his work as a painter; an avant-garde filmmaker, a record producer, an author and a public figure known for his presence in wildly diverse social circles that included bohemian street people, distinguished intellectuals, Hollywood celebrities and wealthy aristocrats. Andy Warhol was one of the first major American artists to be open about his homosexuality. Many people think of Warhol as "asexual" and merely a "voyeur", but these notions have been debunked by biographers, explored by other members of the factory scene such as Bob Colacello, and by scholars like art historian Richard Meyer. The question of how his sexuality influenced Warhol's work and shaped his relationship to the art world is a major subject of scholarship on the artist, and is an issue that Warhol himself addressed in interviews, in conversation with his contemporaries, and in his publications (e.g. Popism: The Warhol Sixties).
Throughout his career, Warhol produced erotic photography and drawings of male nudes. Many of his most famous works (portraits of Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor, and films like Blow Job, My Hustler and Lonesome Cowboys) draw from Gay underground culture and/or openly explore the complexity of sexuality and desire. Many of his films premiered in gay porn theaters. That said, some stories about Warhol's development as an artist revolve around the obstacle his sexuality initially presented as he tried to launch his career. The first works that he submitted to a gallery in the pursuit of a career as an artist were homoerotic drawings of male nudes. They were rejected for being too openly Gay. In Popism, the artist recalls a conversation with the film maker Emile de Antonio about the difficulty Warhol had being accepted socially by the then-more-famous (but closeted) Gay artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. De Antonio explained that Warhol was "too swish and that upsets them." In response to this, Warhol writes, "There was nothing I could say to that. It was all too true. So I decided I just wasn't going to care, because those were all the things that I didn't want to change anyway, that I didn't think I 'should' want to change ... Other people could change their attitudes but not me."
In exploring Warhol's biography, many turn to this period - the late 1950s and early 1960s - as a key moment in the development of his persona. Some have suggested that his frequent refusal to comment on his work, to speak about himself (confining himself in interviews to responses like "Uhm, No" and "Uhm, Yes", and often allowing others to speak for him), and even the evolution of his Pop style can be traced to the years when Warhol was first dismissed by the inner circles of the New York art world.
1930 - today is the birthday of the American historian, playwright, and activist MARTIN DUBERMAN. He is the Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at Lehman College and the Graduate School of the City University of New York. He was the founder and first director of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the CUNY Graduate School. He has authored over twenty books including James Russell Lowell (a National Book Award finalist), Paul Robeson, Stonewall, and the stunning memoir Cures: A Gay Man's Odyssey. He is also a neoabolitionist scholar, as evidenced by his edited collection of essays, The Antislavery Vanguard. His play In White America won the Vernon Rice/Drama Desk Award for Best Off-Broadway Production in 1963. In 2007 he published The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein, a biography of the man who was the force behind George Balanchine's New York City Ballet. His book on the history of Stonewall was made into a movie of the same name in 1995.
Duberman is one of the most prolific writers alive today, having written books on writers, historical figures, artists colonies, social movements, historical memoirs, and then there are the plays. He also co-edited the groundbreaking Hidden History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past. His most recent book is Waiting to Land: A (Mostly) Political Memoir, 1985-2008. In 2007 he received the Pioneer Award from Lambda Literary Foundation.
1938 - the American actor and filmmaker PAUL BARTEL was born on this date (d. 2000). Born in Brooklyn, NYC. He studied theater and film at the University of California in Los Angeles. His acting roles include Tales of the City, More Tales of the City and Basquiat, plus his directorial efforts Private Parts, and 1982's cult favorite Eating Raoul.
1957 - today is the birthday of American politician JIM McGREEVEY. He served as the 52nd Governor of New Jersey from until November 15, 2004, when he left office three months after admitting that he had had an extramarital affair with a male employee. Upon publicly revealing his homosexuality on McGreevey became the first and, to date, only openly Gay state governor in United States history. Among McGreevey's accomplishments as governor were implementing a stem cell research plan for the state, heavily lobbying for the state's first domestic partnership law for same-sex couples and signing such a law in early 2004.
After his resignation, McGreevey wrote a memoir, The Confession, and toured the country in support of the book's publication. That's when many journalists expressed great surprise at seeing so many men showing up to his readings and sharing their similar stories of being married, closeted, and struggling to come out while being married with children. In a way McGreevey's story, all scandal aside, is very, very typical for many men who are led by societal and religious pressure to be "straight", to marry and have children. Those men are still out there. Many come to themselves late in life and it is the flowering that matters most -- whenever it happens. In this book McGreevey wrote about the duality of his life before he came out as gay: "As glorious and meaningful as it would have been to have a loving and sound sexual experience with another man, I knew I'd have to undo my happiness step by step as I began chasing my dream of a public career and the kind of 'acceptable' life that went with it. So, instead, I settled for the detached anonymity of bookstores and rest stops – a compromise, but one that was wholly unfulfilling and morally unsatisfactory. " Since leaving the governorship, McGreevey has attended the seminary to obtain his Master of Divinity degree, a requirement to becoming an Episcopal priest. He volunteers service through Harlem's Exodus Transitional Community to former prisoners seeking rehabilitation. He lives with his partner in Plainfield, New Jersey.
1983 - on this date the German singer and actor KLAUS NOMI died on this date (b. 1944) German singer and actor
1991 - on this date the MIT engineer TIM BERNERS-LEE released files describing his idea for the World Wide Web. You're reading this, so he was apparently successful. Thanks Tim!
There was nothing inevitable about the Stonewall riots. They did not have to happen in June of '69 in Greenwich Village, New York. What had happened by the end of the 60's was that conditions had finally become ripe for Stonewall. It could have happened in any number of large cities--but only in a large city, where a critical consciousness and mass had been achieved. On the other hand, it could not have happened in 1959. The country had to have lived through the decade of the 60's, meaning the challenge to authority in a wide variety of areas of American life--whether emanating from the struggle against the war in Vietnam, the emergence of the feminist movement at the end of the decade, or, of course, from the granddaddy of all movements, the black struggle for civil rights going back to the 50's.
It seems to me that the common message of all these movements was not to trust the experts. It's okay to be different. And that message began to resonate. I, for example, had turned over my life during much of the 60's to the professional experts of psychiatry in order to cure my sexual orientation, and this message began to percolate in me. Also, I was very outspoken about the Vietnam War and on the side of the student radicals. And finally it began to seep into my defended brain that, "Hey, this applies to you, too, and to your own life. Here you are deferring to experts. You are believing all the psychoanalytic bullshit about how you have a character disorder and how homosexuality is always pathological. Time to open your eyes to your own situation and apply these messages to your own life."
The second message was essentially the message of the black struggle: that black is beautiful, beautiful in and of itself and not just as a second-rate version of white. And that message, too, began to percolate for a lot of gays and lesbians: We don't have to go on apologizing for who we are and trying to conform to standards outside of ourselves, middle class standards of what is viable behavior or a "decent" lifestyle.
What had also preceded was at least an incipient gay and lesbian struggle per se. I myself didn't get activated until 1971. But those people in the 60's, that literal handful of people who stood up, who joined the Mattachine Society or the Daughters of Bilitis, these were people who were in a real sense "unsocialized. " People like me had been properly socialized. We had been taught that gay is bad, disturbed, second-rate. Somehow there were a few hundred people who didn't get that message. God bless them; we all owe them a great debt. And so they carried their picket signs in front of the White House in 1965 demanding rights for gays and lesbians. They actually used the slogan "Gay is Good," which was invented by Franklin Kameny. Interview in Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide
So many of today's activists--much as I admire them--do sometimes give off the attitude that what they are doing is being done for the very first time, that they had no precursors; whereas in fact all of us are standing on the shoulders of these giants from the 60's. Where they are acknowledged at all, it is usually in patronizing terms: "Yeah, there was this primitive little gay political movement before Stonewall, but these people were essentially assimilationists and apologists." And to some degree they were, but they were also saying some very subversive things, and engaging in some very dangerous political actions--like picketing various federal agencies, demonstrating annually in Philadelphia in front of Independence Hall (an event which Craig Rodwell invented). Those were remarkably brave acts in the context of those years. Those people could easily have been beaten up on the street; they could easily have lost their jobs and apartments. There were no support groups. Interview in Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide
But with AIDS we began to hear a lot of apologies in the gay male world. They weren't saying what the right wingers were saying, that AIDS is God's punishment. But a lot of people--and I would include Larry Kramer--were deploring the "destructive" nature of gay male sexuality, saying it was time to "grow up," time to recognize that every human being really does long for the same thing, namely a committed, sustained, intimate relationship. That last may be true. But people are different. Even the same person at different ages requires different things. Though at this stage of my own life, for example, I want nothing other than the comfort and dailiness of an ongoing, committed relationship, at earlier periods in my life I didn't want that at all. I wanted a lot of excitement and variety. Apologetics for what we once were is in essence a denial of our own passionate, youthful truths.
I think it's because the mainstream left is no more receptive — they all claim that, "well of course we believe you people should have your rights, and of course we're tolerant of your lifestyle." But when it comes right down to it, you cannot get them to hang around long enough to listen to the ways in which queer values and perspectives might inform their own lives. They don't believe that for a second. And that hasn't changed at all. At least, if it has changed, I haven't seen it. San Francisco Bay Guardian
So long as the desperation some young people feel when rejected by their families and friends because of their sexuality continues, there will always be "expert" sharks around to feed off of it. And beyond that, there will always be pressure exerted, in any society, to make people conform to majoritarian values. Our job is not only to resist those pressures but to affirm at the same time that we are as different in our history, values, and relational patterns as they fear. Interview in Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide
You are invited to participate in a groundbreaking Leadership Academy that will provide you with the skills and support needed to lead pioneering work to improve the health and well being of Gay men's communities and subcultures.
Open to men and women of all sexual and gender orientations who are seeking to make a difference in the future of Gay men's health, at the local and national level.
BECOME A LEADER IN THE CUTTING-EDGE WORK OF THE GAY MEN'S HEALTH MOVEMENT
September 18-21, 2009 Easton Mountain Retreat Center Greenwich, NY
March 26-29, 2010 Wildwood Retreat Center Guerneville, California
About the Leadership Academy
A growing Gay men's health movement has achieved major achievements over the past ten years, including: the birth of new organizations that are shepherding innovative approaches to the broad range of issues faced by Gay men's communities and subcultures the organizing of a new generation of men and women to fight for Gay health and build community nationwide the creation of a new model of health promotion, focused on supporting Gay men's commitment to one another the development of exciting new programs and campaigns to promote the assets of our strong Gay communities.
BECOME A LEADER!
This growing movement requires a new generation of leaders of all ages who are willing to go back to their home communities and lead the fight for innovative strategies, organizing, and programs. With the skills you develop at the LEADERSHIP ACADEMY you can become part of a national movement to create programs that build upon the strong strengths and assets of Gay men toss out shame and fear and panic as central strategies for health promotion celebrate the strategies that work!
All registrations and payments must be received in full one week prior to the scheduled academy.
Only 40 participants are allowed for each academy, so please register early.
You can register by filling out our registration form, printing it out and mailing it in. The form is at www.Gaywisdom. org
Scholarships are available.
The Leadership Academy is a sponsored project of the White Crane Institute.
Please find out more about the White Crane Institute at www.gaywisdom. org
"Midway in life's journey I found myself in a dark wood having lost the way." —Dante, The Inferno
GAY MEN & MIDLIFE AWAKENING: Rites of Passage Into the Second Half of Life
AUGUST 28-30, 2009 Friday (6 - 10 pm) Saturday and Sunday (9 am - 5 pm)
The workshop will be held at Wellness Works Community Health Center in Glendale, CA Fee: $250 for the entire weekend including preparation readings and CD's
Facilitators DON KILHEFNER, PH.D. & ROBERTO BLAIN, M.A.
To register or receive more information, contact: DANIEL SZUHAY (323) 304-1280 or dszuhay@sbcglobal. net
IMPORTANT: The workshop is limited to 25 participants and usually fills up early and quickly. It is anticipated that the workshop will be full by the beginning of August. A word to the wise is sufficient.
GAY MEN AND MIDLIFE AWAKENING: Rites of Passage Into the Second Half of Life
Sometime around midlife (not necessarily chronological) , most Gay men find themselves questioning the purpose and direction of their life. The midlife awakening is often accompanied by disappointment, disruption and fear. It is a time for revisioning and reorienting our lives, a necessary rite of passage between the omnipresent extended adolescence of the first half of life—and the second half with its inevitable appointment with old age and death.
The first half of life is about healthy ego development—growing up and embodying oneself in the world. The second half revolves around the needs of the soul, purposeful living, new direction, risk-taking, and the creation of a fully present and engaged life—what James Hillman calls "growing down." This midlife window of opportunity does not remain open forever.
In this pioneering weekend workshop, which is presented locally and nationally, you will learn to identify the birth pangs of the middle passage; examine various routes across this disorienting and treacherous territory; explore ways of deep listening to the soul; and create a more conscious, passionate, and meaningful engagement with rest of your life.
Alternating between presentation, interactive discussion, writing, poetry, dreams, mythology and ritual, the Midlife Awakening workshop will initiate a soul-directed journey that enables you to generate enlivening new possibilities for your life and your community.
"The significant problems of the day cannot be solved with the same consciousness that created them."— Albert Einstein
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