COMMUNITY NEWS Volume 1, Number 6 March 1994
A Newsletter for the lesbian, bisexual, and gay community
and supporters at Columbia University and Affiliates
MARCH EVENTS CALENDAR & CONTACTS
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
* 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
"COMMUNITY NEWS" CONTACTS
Events: John Rash, 678-3779; email@example.com
Features: E. R. Shipp, 854-7571; firstname.lastname@example.org
Mailing list: Steve van Leeuwen, 854-3078; email@example.com
ELECTRONIC RESOURCES OF INTEREST TO THE LESBIAN, GAY, AND BISEXUAL
* In ColumbiaNet's Community Interest menu:
- "CALIPSO: Columbia Almanac of Information Pertaining to Sexual
Orientation," Autumn 1993 publication sponsored by the Office of
- "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.
IVY UNDERGRADS TO MEET IN APRIL AT COLUMBIA; HELP NEEDED
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
firstname.lastname@example.org. Melinda can be reached at 853-1336. Messages
may be left at the LBGC office at 854-1488.
- E. R. Shipp
FEEDING FRENZY AT FACULTY HOUSE
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
MAKING HISTORY AT COLUMBIA
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
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
"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,
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,
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
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
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
- Beth E. Stryker
"DEATH IN VENICE" AT THE METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE
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