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The Grapevine
This article is from Outlines newspaper, which purchased and merged with Windy City Times in Sept. 2000.
by Rex Wockner and Tracy Baim

This article shared 1056 times since Wed Mar 7, 2001
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"The question must be asked: after two decades of sunken faces on the evening news, political protests during rush-hour traffic, AIDS quilts, recriminations, free condoms and Marisol and Julio's drama played out in a [New York City] subway advertising campaign, how can anyone fail to grasp that certain sexual practices can lead to a fatal disease?" — The New York Times, Feb. 11.

"Few Hollywood couples are prepared to stay together for the sake of their kids, the exception being Jodie Foster and her turkey baster, though they too are now said to sleep separately, one taking the master suite, the other the kitchen drawer." — Mark Steyn, writing in Canada's National Post, Feb. 12.

"I can assure you, if Urv[ashi Vaid] and I ever break up, it won't be pretty." — Comedian Kate Clinton to San Diego's Update, Feb. 15.

"While I realize the GOP takeover is bad for us as a GLBT community, it's great for me. As a satirist looking at four years of Dubya, the material practically writes itself." — Kate Clinton.

"Do I blame the two young men who murdered my son? No. I blame society for giving them permission." — Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, to the Eugene [Oregon] Register-Guard, Feb. 12.

"It [Sitges, Spain] was a better place when they [my family] lived there. Now it is full of gay Germans. I prefer normality. I say what I believe and I am not a hypocrite. In a few words, I like women." — Uruguayan President Jorge Batlle to The New York Times, Jan. 11.

"Bald spots make me crazy. Salt and pepper gets me growling. Gray hair comforts me. I love to lick the hair growing out of a man's ear. A soft, chubby belly is the perfect place to rest one's head. Soft dicks are just fine with me." — Syndicated gay-press columnist Kirk Read, Feb. 8.

"February sweeps month ushered in more queer television firsts than ever before, but you would never know it from the way networks keep their not-so-straight characters in the closet. While cable stations promote the sexually explicit gay storylines in shows like Queer As Folk and Oz, the networks tiptoe around the very existence of their queer characters. A few television dramas offer well-developed supporting characters who are allowed realistic gay and lesbian lives, as long as their storylines are never advertised on TV promos or even mentioned in the official program guides to the shows. Despite this invisibility, sweeps month heightened the development of these characters and their intimate relationships." — Nancy Warren writing in the San Francisco Gate March 2.

"Besides centering storylines around killing vampires, stopping demons in their tracks and the usual teen angst, Buffy The Vampire Slayer has featured the slow and steady progression of a groundbreaking lesbian love story between Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson). Accepted by Buffy and the gang, the two witches have slow danced, had a quick kiss and even moved in together. But in the highlight sweeps episode, the relationship moved to another level when Tara and Willow shared an extended kiss. While there have been other kisses—mostly perfunctory—between other gay and lesbian characters (not to mention long drawn-out liplocks between women who discuss how straight they are), there may never have been such an intimate kiss between two openly lesbian television characters in a relationship. That Buffy's mother died in the episode further reinforces the 'alternative family' theme that has been growing for some time among the group of friends, making Tara and Willow even more crucial in the Buffy universe. Television history has been made again, yet, from reading the show's official preview blurbs, you would have no idea that either of the characters were even in the episode, let alone lesbians." — Warren.

"ER followed a similar sweeps kiss-and-don't-tell pattern as ER chief Kerry Weaver (Laura Innes) pursued openly lesbian psychiatrist Kim Legaspi (Elizabeth Mitchell). Their developing relationship, including Weaver's discovery that she wanted to be 'more than friends' with Legaspi, was handled, for the most part, with remarkable sensitivity and subtlety. All the unusual-to-TV lesbian couple intimacies—morning showers, sharing shirts, late-night rendezvous, exchanging keys—have been covered. The two even shared an electrifying bedroom scene that featured the world's sexiest hand kiss, for those who missed it. And miss it you might have, since the program synopses failed to ever mention any of these developments. ... [R]umor has it that the relationship, originally slated to be short term, has been indefinitely extended." — Warren. Warren also reports that on Friends, Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) is rumored to "lock lips" with an old friend (played by Winona Ryder) in an upcoming episode.

"But perhaps strangest of all is the WB's treatment of openly gay high schooler Jack McPhee (Kerr Smith) on the soap opera-ish teen drama, Dawson's Creek. Jack was pursued by the available and interested Tobey (David Monahan), who, it turns out, was 'too gay' for Jack's taste. This interesting and realistic situation became the subject of long discussions with his best female friend, Jen (Michelle Williams), but was never mentioned in the official program description. In another episode, however, a misguided make-out session with Jen made top billing as Jack's 'romance.' Talk about false advertising." — Warren.

"The woman in the audience was furious, old-time furious. Clearly she had been stewing all evening, if not for decades. When question-and-answer time finally came, she rose and yelled and, what seemed worse, shook her finger at the dais. How dare we—she presumably meant my generation of fortyish gay men—betray the movement, the movement she had fought and sacrificed for? How dare we dishonor her suffering and ideals, not to mention the thousands dead, by doing ... what? Well, she wasn't so clear on that. Perhaps by becoming parents (my partner and I have two boys) or by writing for mainstream magazines or by speaking on panels that didn't include her. "Imitating heterosexuals" is a phrase I think I remember her shouting. But what would that mean? Was my hair ill-styled? ... The gay moment is over, or that one is, anyway. We have fallen short of realizing the angry woman's dreams, but we did do something at least as important: We moved forthrightly into the larger world. Not just as comic or aesthetic relief, but as power brokers, opinion-makers, pillars, and parents. If this sounds like a profoundly bourgeois achievement, that's because it has largely been a white, male, disposable-income revolution. So stipulate that the job is not done. AIDS is not over, especially for black men. Homosexuals still can't marry (Vermont notwithstanding) anywhere in this country, or adopt together except in a few places, or serve openly in the military. You won't be getting your Interior Decorating badge from the Boy Scouts anytime soon. Stipulate, too, that we occasionally find ourselves subject to impromptu firings or non-hirings, slurs or punches, knifings, burnings, or all-but-crucifixions on Wyoming fences. Stipulate all that and still, if you look at the past 30 years—the past ten especially—you have to conclude that while losing almost all the battles, we have won the war. By which I mean that most of us feel surer, safer, more integrally American than anyone dreamed possible in 1970. And new generations of gay kids are taking as their birthright what we could not even imagine." — Author Jesse Green in New York Magazine, March 5.

"But I don't think the finger-pointing woman was merely envious. I think she was trying to issue a warning about the costs of our achievement. What kind of movement, she seemed to ask, would bury its veterans before they were dead? She meant herself, but I was also reminded of Harry Hay, one of the founders of gay liberation—albeit a proponent of a sweet, sissified, semi-separatist offshoot called the Radical Faeries. Hay lives on at 88, scraping by on charity. Perhaps one of those new gay retirement homes in Florida should take him in, for publicity value. Neither anger nor sweetness is the currency of the new gay moment. Currency is the currency. ... This is not to argue against success. Money may well do more to change American attitudes toward homosexuals than morality ever did. A recent Carnegie Mellon study, as summarized in the Washington Post, found that 'the number one thing that correlates with a region's high-tech success is the concentration of gay people living there.' This suggests a link if not an equation between tolerance and economic supremacy; but what will happen to our boats of liberty when the tide of money that lifted them up inevitably goes out again?" — Green.

"But brushing off Gore was not a sign of maturity; it was a sign of amnesia. How could we, of all people, not recognize the dangerous argument George W. Bush advanced in his bid to 'restore dignity' to the Clinton White House? Maybe we've come too far." — Jesse Green noting that so many gays voted for Bush.

"If there is anything truly worth preserving about gayness, it is the lesson each gay person is forced to learn about what love costs, and is worth. And even when that lesson is generally acknowledged, when the gay battles (and not just the war) are won, there will be plenty of other battles to fight. AIDS may or may not have stabilized in Chelsea, but it is killing far more people in sub-Saharan Africa than ever saw Bette at the baths. Plus, there are still those pesky issues of race and war and old age and poverty, not to mention the overheated, exhausted earth. With our newfound economic power, with our fairy dust that turns ghettos into high-tech wonderlands, with the strength of Will & Grace's ratings and the glow of Clinton's bear hug, what will we choose to do about other people's lousy childhoods? How will we learn to love the rest of this tacky old world?" — Green.

Copyright 2001 Lambda Publications Inc. All rights reserved. Lambda publishes Windy City Times, The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community, Nightlines, Out Resource Guide, Clout! Business Report, Blacklines and En La Vida. 1115 W. Belmont 2D, Chicago, IL 60657; PH (773) 871-7610; FAX (773) 871-7609. Web at E-mail feedback to!

This article shared 1056 times since Wed Mar 7, 2001
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