COMMUNITY NEWS Volume 1, Number 6
March 1994

COMMUNITY NEWS  Volume 1, Number 6  March 1994
A Newsletter for the lesbian, bisexual, and gay community
and supporters at Columbia University and Affiliates

    3 (Thursday) CU Seminar on Homosexualities. Topic: "Brothers, 
      Friends and Lovers in Roman Literature." Presenter: Craig 
      Williams, Brooklyn College. 7:30 pm, 1512 IAB.

    4 (Friday) Lesbigay Lunch. Every Friday during the semester. All 
      are welcome to eat and greet. 1 pm, 3rd floor cafeteria, Faculty 

      * Lesbian/Gay Studies Group. Kissing the Body Politic: 
        Heterosexuality and Anal Eroticism in the "Kiss of the 
        Spiderwoman." Presenter: Ben Sifuentes-Jauregui. 4 pm, 754 
        Schermerhorn Extension.

      * LBGC First Friday Dance. 10 pm, Earl Hall.

    6 (Sunday) LBGC Meeting. 7 pm, 303 Earl Hall.

    9 (Wednesday) Community Meeting. 5:30-7 pm, 308 Lewisohn Hall. 
      Pizza and soda. Bring a friend.

   10 (Thursday) LBGTC Meeting. 9 pm, 177 Grace Dodge Hall (Teachers 

   13-20 (Sunday-Sunday) Spring Break.

   13 (Sunday) LBGC Meeting. 7 pm, 303 Earl Hall.

   19 (Saturday) Third Saturday Dance. 10 pm-2 am, Earl Hall.

   20 (Sunday) LBGC Meeting. 7 pm, 303 Earl Hall.

   24 (Thursday) GABLES-CU Meeting. 5:30-7 pm, 628 Kent Hall.

   25 (Friday) Lesbian/Gay Studies Group. Queer Theory/Social Theory. 
      4 pm, 754 Schermerhorn Extension.

   27 (Sunday) LBGC Meeting. 7 pm, 303 Earl Hall.

   April 1 (Friday) Lesbian/Gay Studies Group. Film screening: "Last 
      Call at Maud's." 4 pm, 754 Schermerhorn Extension.

 KEY: GABLES-CU--Gay, Bisexual, & Lesbian Employees & Supporters
      LBGC--Columbia/Barnard Lesbian Bisexual Gay Coalition
      LBGTC--Lesbians, Bisexuals, & Gays at Teachers College


      Events: John Rash, 678-3779;
      Features: E. R. Shipp, 854-7571;
      Mailing list: Steve van Leeuwen, 854-3078;


    * In ColumbiaNet's Community Interest menu:

      - "CALIPSO: Columbia Almanac of Information Pertaining to Sexual 
        Orientation," Autumn 1993 publication sponsored by the Office of 
        Campus Programs
      - "Community News," monthly publication of the lesbian, gay, and 
        bisexual community at Columbia and its affiliates
      - Queer Resource Directory (QRD), an off-campus electronic library 
        with news clippings, political contact information, newsletters, 
        essays, images, etc.

    * Lesbigay Notesfile--Over 2000 messages since its inception in 
      February are accessible to those with AcIS CUNIX accounts by 
      typing "notes lesbigay" at the $ prompt.


About 100 lesbigay undergraduates from the Ivy League, the Seven Sisters, and M.I.T. are expected to take part in the "LesBiGay Ugrad Student Conference" on the weekend of April 15-17. This unprecedented event will be hosted by the LBGC, but all members of the Columbia lesbigay community are being asked to pitch in to help make it a success. "We're hoping that people can use each other as resources and that the undergraduates will get something out of this," said Shannon J. Halkyard, the Columbia College senior who is working with Melinda Hayes, a Barnard sophomore, to plan the conference. "We hope this will result in an intercampus organization and that the conference can continue as long as people are getting information and ideas out of it and also are enjoying themselves." The workshops will focus on such issues as self-defense; outreach efforts to heterosexuals on campus; the representation and empowerment of lesbians, bisexuals, and people of color; queer curricula; and the development of lesbigay identities. Among the anticipated speakers is Lorraine Hutchins, a bisexual activist and author of "Bi Any Other Name." Shannon and Melinda can use some help in making arrangements for the conference, as well as in housing perhaps as many as 70 guests. If you can offer a bed--or even floor space where visiting students can place their sleeping bags--please let them know. Shannon can be reached at 853-7365 or through e-mail at Melinda can be reached at 853-1336. Messages may be left at the LBGC office at 854-1488. - E. R. Shipp


Lunch at the Faculty House third-floor cafeteria on Friday, February 4th was a hoot, and something of a milestone. Responding to suggestions raised at the January Lesbigay Community Meeting for informal social gatherings (with none of that dry business stuff), members of GABLES suggested Friday lunches and thus a tradition was born. For those who have never been, the cafeteria is a large open space where one can choose hot meals featuring fish, meat, or fowl--as well as hamburgers, sandwiches, omelettes, and soup--or help themselves to the salad bar. Everyone is welcome, and one can pay cash or charge their lunch on their Faculty House card. Responding to Steve's oh-so-tasteful poster and a posting on the lesbigay notesfile, people from all over the campus started to gather at 1:00 pm in the room behind the register--the one with the long table facing windows overlooking the President's House. Trevor, Joseph, Evelyn, Diego, Ken, Terry, Margaret, and Valerie were the first to arrive, but they were soon followed by Steve, another Valerie, and a couple of Johns. Before long the table was full, and newcomers Robert, Doug, Nuala, Beth, and George started moving additional tables together to extend the group. Shipp was the last to arrive. In all about 35 friends and colleagues exchanged introductions and chatted among themselves, and while not exactly the Round Table at the Algonquin, the conversation was witty and the atmosphere heady. Everyone had a good time just being there and most promised to return in future weeks. Some of the participants eventually broke into smaller groups and carried on business; the "Community News" folks have decided to hold their monthly meeting there after lunch the first Friday of every month. If you're looking for an occasion to meet your fellow lesbigays on campus, come to the Faculty House cafeteria on Fridays at 1:00 pm to see and be seen. The food's not bad, and the company is sterling. See you there. - Ken Harlin


When journalist Eric Marcus prepared "Making History," his landmark oral history of the lesbian and gay rights movement, he chose a title with a double meaning: 'making history' in the sense of achieving historical firsts, but also 'making' history in the sense of shaping and guiding the development of our community. As the first university in the nation to have a "homophile" student group (founded in 1966), the lesbigay community at Columbia has already "made history" in the first sense. But every day since then--and especially amid the burst of activity over the past year--we have also been making history in the second sense: creating new groups, exploring new subjects, striking out in new directions. And in the process, even in the age of e-mail, we've been producing an impressive paper trail that is of historical significance. According to Rhea Pliakis, Columbia's manager of University records, lesbigay groups should preserve any documents--however mundane--that might provide insight into their goals and activities. "With regard to the particular needs of the gay and lesbian community, it may be that you have to deal with a lot of hostile press," she said. "By keeping your own records, you can present a more accurate picture of yourselves and show that others' attempts to portray you are erroneous." Archives are also essential for mounting exhibits, developing documentaries, or writing histories, Pliakis added. Columbia is in the process of organizing a University Archives, which should be ready to accept documents and records within the next two years. Files most likely to be in high demand will be housed in Low Library; others will be stored in an annex on 131st Street. Among the documents that lesbigay groups might preserve for the Archives, Pliakis said, are meeting minutes, correspondence, fliers, promotional literature, policy statements, calendars of events, annual reports, pamphlets, booklets, newsletters, newspaper clippings, as well as photos, audiotapes, and videotapes. Pliakis recommends copying records onto acid-free paper and storing them in acid-free folders in a location not subject to wide temperature variations. Subjects in photos should be clearly identified and the photos should be stored separately from papers, interlaid with sheets of acid-free paper. For more information on preserving records or on the needs of the Archives, call Rhea Pliakis at 854-1338. - Ray Smith


Girlz on Film began in the fall of 1992 as a film series to support and showcase the work of feminist and experimental filmmakers, many of whom are members of the queer community. Last April, Girlz on Film hosted a screening and panel of lesbian film- and videomakers. The panel featured filmmakers Su Friedrich ("Rules of the Road") and Yvonne Rainer ("Privilege") and videomakers Cheryl Dunye ("The Potluck and the Passion") and Shari Frilot ("A Cosmic Demonstration of Sexuality"). Sande Zeig, an independent producer of lesbian films and emerging director, moderated the panel, which focused on the filmmakers' visions of the course of lesbian film and video in the 90s. Girlz on Film regularly brings one or more filmmakers to campus to screen her work and respond to audience questions following the screening. Receptions in St. Paul's Chapel allow aspiring filmmakers and other interested audience members to meet more informally. Last month Girlz on Film held a screening of works by "Queers at Columbia," as part of the Postcrypt Arts Underground Festival. The screening included "Girl Frenzy," a film by Jill Reiter that features an all-girl punk band fantasizing a performance gone wild, and Mark Christopher's widely acclaimed "The Dead Boy's Club." Christopher's short film features a young gay man whose sexual awakening in the AIDS epidemic--and awareness of an earlier decade's decadence--are brought about by the inheritance of a pair of magical shoes. This spring Girlz on Film will be co-sponsoring a series of films with the Women's History Month committee. Screenings will include Cheryl Dunye's first venture into film, "Greetings From Africa," which is currently in production with Good Machine, Inc., producers of "The Wedding Banquet." Also showing will be Jeanine Corbet's super-8 films ("J.O. Girl" and "The Assault") and her new collaborative 16-mm work "DAWG," which depicts fantastically what dogs men can be. Girlz on Film recruits! Call 854-1953 and leave a message if you want to join. We're looking for a few good girlz to keep things going strong. - Beth E. Stryker

      I was surprised to find the audience on opening night of Britten's 
      opera no more gay male than usual. "Death in Venice," written in 
      the early 1970s, is based upon Thomas Mann's famous story about a 
      man's obsession with a boy on the beach. It is widely perceived to 
      be a "gay" opera.

      I had never heard the music before, and I did not like it at all. 
      It left me cold and was never interesting enough to make up for 
      its non-melodiousness. Of course, the opera is an established 
      success with "the critics," so it is more appropriate to judge 
      this production and performance instead of the work itself.

      This production by Colin Graham, which ran from February 7-26, was 
      relatively small-scale for the Met. Because of a reliance on 
      projected images from slides, there were few realized sets. 
      Sometimes the images worked well, giving a general feel for the 
      setting and the mood. However, at times they were not specific, 
      and I was aware of thinking that I was looking at slides and not 
      at an overall set.

      Almost all the singing was performed by the main character, and 
      although he was singing properly, it was difficult to be brought 
      into his world through his voice (the last three notes of the 
      first act are heart-stopping, but little else is). The object of 
      the main character's obsession is a character that does not sing 
      but dances. The choreography was beautifully done (by beautiful 
      men), and the music became much more interesting and inspired when 
      it was accompanying the dance (or the few choral numbers) than 
      when it was the main character singing alone.

      Finally, the character of the boy is to be 14 years old. In the 
      Met's production, this part was filled by a much older man (an 
      established ballet dancer), which left me wondering where this 
      work fits into the scheme of gay literature after the recent 
      ousting of the North American Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) 
      from the cause. Although written by a gay man (and directed and 
      performed by many gay men), this work is about an obsession 
      towards boys and, based on the outpouring of anti-NAMBLA sentiment 
      recently, may no longer be acceptable to the American gay 
                                               - Walt Kiskaddon, Law '94

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