Saturday, 18 March 2006


A strange day indeed and likely my most memorable St. Patrick's day ever; a tall Hcposter order for someone who's in his fifth decade.  And it was also to be one of those days fraught with coincidence and even its own theme:  Homophobia, sadly.  Who could have imagined that on the day I was to see a new film about homophobia, that the hours leading up to it would be filled with some real homophobia "quality" time?

It was to be a fun day. I was heading out to the St. Patrick's Day Parade to capture endless eye candy photographs of drunken and out of control young men wearing funny green hats and three sheets to wind well before noon.   I've done this before and in the spirit of the parade and the beer and the whiskey, studly young men can be talked into doing many things for the camera.  You just have to remember to be ever on the alert for projectile vomiting.  Such is St. Paddy's day in little old New York.

Unfortunately these best laid plans were sidetracked as I read the news reports about the hideous venom that had been spewed by the chairman of the venerable parade.  John Dunleavy, the man who runs the parade and currently holds the title of most disgusting human being in America had just publicly likened  homosexuals to Nazis, prostitutes and Klansmen.  I lost my taste for all things Irish and spent the day working.

Next up, an early evening meeting  with G for drinks before the screening.  I was still upset and angered by the fact that the parade homophobe had spewed his venom in MY city.  In fact, not that I've become accustomed to hate language in this country, but hearing it from a fellow New Yorker was particularly painful.  I expect it from Ohio and Kansas, but not here.  This is Gay New York, for Judy's sake!

Fags9nhAnd now, as I approached one of my favorite East Village gay bars, The Boiler Room, I was to be verbally attacked--in New York, the East Village, it was not supposed to be.   Three parade goers, young men in their early twenties, wearing green stupid stuff and looking for yet another bar to drain had approached the Boiler Room before they noticed the rainbow flag.  They stopped about three feet from me and I was about five feet from the entrance, well within dashing range.

I hear:  "Dude, it's a fag bar.  We can't go in there.  They're not our people."

Seeing that I'm headed inside, they joltingly surround me on three sides, stepping just a few too many inches into my personal space and, I'm not ashamed to say, causing my heart to jump a few too many beats.

"Hey you!" One of them shouts.  "You fucking fag..."

I didn't let him finish. I didn't answer.  I was through the door.  Am I a coward?  You bet your ass.  I wasn't about to let my pride lead me into a confrontation with three drunken pricks. And I was damned glad G was late because his Latin temper would have kicked Hsvegas in and we'd have been in the police station with the blood of three drunken Irish kids all over our coats.  A gay Jew, a gay Puerto Rican (G) and three homophobic Irish Catholic boys--what a rich panoply of stereotypes and ethnic conflicts that would have been. The tabloids would surely have called a national holiday.

Part of me hoped they would follow me in as I fantasized about three drunken straight boys  getting the crap beat out of them by a bunch of fairies and dikes.  And the Boiler Room crowd would have been well up to the task. It was a flash fantasy and lasted no longer than a brief spark. In fact, I was mostly relieved to be safe and among friends but also embarrassed at my own fear and panic.   This was Manhattan, the East Village, it couldn't possibly happen here.  And they were likely just taunting me in a stupid drunken adolescent way and never would have touched me.  But in today's America...who the hell knows what to expect.

Inside the bar, as I sipped my over-priced top shelf Martini, refusing the St. Paddy's day discounted Godhatesfags Guinness as part of my "protest," I struggled through a mixture of feelings.  But mostly I felt despair that homophobia and I had crossed paths twice in one day and in my hometown, the gayest city in the universe.  No place safer on earth for a gay man.

By the way, this was only the second time in my entire life that I'd been called a fag in a threatening way.  It was disconcerting, out of place and very strange.  I've actually been insulted and even assaulted as a Jew  many, many more times during the course of my life...of course nobody in this country pays much attention to Jew-bashing.

The first time I was openly insulted as a gay man had been in Little Italy in 1990 by three extremely old men sitting around a card table on Prince Street.  They were responding to a blatant act of PDA that involved me and my boyfriend and our lips in broad daylight. One of those swept away moments in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Anyway, the three old farts could barely breathe much less threaten us.  But, god bless there souls, they still had enough hate in them to call us fags and demand that we get the hell off their street.  I pointed across the street to a known Mafia hangout and told them to take it to my uncle.  They shut up.  My boyfriend looked at me in surprise.  I told him to let it go.  That's a story for another time.

Hc004 Back to now and HATE CRIME.  To borrow a metaphor from one of my ex-therapists, the movie was like peeling the skin off an onion and every time you thought you had it, another layer was revealed.  I can't imagine how to "review" this film without giving away one of the many and fascinating plot twists.  Suffice it to say, if you don't get your ass down to the Pioneer Theater and catch this flic, you will have done yourself a grave disservice.  It will provoke you, upset you, fascinate you and likely make you angry with yourself.

The movie will not give you easy answers to the current state of affairs in this nation, but it will pose several urgent questions that play to our very survival as a nation.   On a "craft" note, and I speak as an avid movie fan with little knowledge of the technical and craft aspects of cinema-making, but there are two particular segments that are masterpieces of film editing, one having to do with the compelling conflict facing the good and bad sides of contemporary American Christianity and the other having to do with the gut-wrenching details of the actual crime.

Unlike certain very pretty movies about the gay experience, HATE CRIME is more like an autopsy, providing a gruesome and raw look at the current environment of hate, homophobia and the perversion of American Christianity.

Hc001 This is a surprisingly original work of art that may be the most provocative treatment of homophobia and hate crimes to date.  I couldn't imagine being surprised anymore by this topic, but I was.  Be warned that there's nothing romantic about this story, you will not be spared and you will probably not like the movie at all, but you will most certainly love it.

And yes, for you pathetic voyeurs who would feel neglected without gay movie eye candy, there is Brian J. Smith.  But you may find yourself feeling more attraction for one of the film's villains, the pastor's son played by Chad Donella, a first class fag-hating homophobe.   Donella's portrayal of a very tortured soul is breathtaking. Of course, I'm a sucker for a tortured soul.

And if any of you are shopping for a new mother, sorry, I already have dibs on Cindy Pickett.  She starts off as a fantasy Hallmark mom but transforms into a combination Earth mother-Valkyrie-Amazon.

Even though I'm singling out some of the cast, this is an amazingly well-orchestrated ensemble and reminded me more of CRASH than you-know-what.  I also felt honored to be present at this screening and was reminded of the days when I'd Hatecrime_002_1 seen Chorus Line and Rent in workshop, sensing that these productions would ultimately become major milestones.

On a side note, buy the soundtrack or pirate it or whatever you people do to stuff music into those silly iPods.  It's will reach into your soul and fulfill you. Like the film, the soundtrack is the work of a true auteur.   Right before the film began, we were blessed with a live performance by the composer and singer, Ebony Tay, who also happens to be one of the flic's co-producers.

Now stop reading my blog and go see this film so that you can say that you saw it back before anyone else knew about it.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference HATE CRIME: MY STRANGE ST. PATRICK'S DAY:

» V for Vendetta - LightShed 10 from Queer Beacon
Excellent. Excellent. Excellent. Wow! The Wachowski Brothers are my heroes now. The best blow-up movie I have ever seen, and the clearest and easiest case for a LightShed 10 on this website. I saw it Friday night and I [Read More]

» Hate Crime - LightShed 10 from Queer Beacon
Very good movie. Very easy case for a LightShed 10. Great thing the title gives you a peek into the plot of the movie. You will need to be prepared because the movie hits close to home. In the movie, [Read More]


Thanks for the excellent review. It is a shame they can't get this into wide release. Short of travelling viewers in my neighborhood will have to wait unitl October with only one or two chances for viewing.

You were't with fear, you were with a sound mind. A man who fights a losing battle to save face, loses the war. A man who passes said battle for the larger purpose leads us all into victory. Yes, the larger purpose includes saving your own hide.

As an Irish "Catholic Girl" ( got the orange hair to prove it)... I'd like to apologize for those who dirty the name of my ancestors and my God. They are a disgrace.

I had read this and didn't incline to post on it.

Then, a site listed this as "hate crimes and homophobia."

Gotta tell you, not impressed at all by that listing.

You've admitted that you are a 50's-ish gay man going to check out the eye candy drunk Irish boys. Remind anyone of predatory frat boys trying to chain a frosh virgin?

You've also admitted you scurried away from confrontation.

As a conservative, at New York University, I was walking with my friend Steve in the West Village (NYU is a block from the West Village so put ur gaydar on hold dumbasses). .a station wagon rolled up on us with guys screaming gay epithets (spell it however you like). I turned, admittedly surprised and told them to go fuck themselves.

I told my friend to head out, since he was not like me... my having been reared in a true Teamsters environment.. capice?

I don't care what the topic is about, noone was going to mess with me.

End result... they got back in their car and drove away.

If you want respect hold your head up high.

Stop acting like every slight is a hate crime. Like every time you are called a queer is the greatest crime of all times.

Especially since so many homo orgs are called Queer themselves.

If you can't stand up as an individual and defend your right to be a fag, then get a top to do it.

Either way stop whining. Or wait til another drag queen (circa Stonewall) comes to your rescue.

Surprising, that conservatives have experienced anti-gay harassment? Stupid is as stupid does.

There's a difference between standing up for oneself and becoming a victim of a hate crime. And for anyone who has been on there, one can feel the difference between stupid drunks and the hateful malice of someone out to cause injury.
Too bad you're so young and stupid as to not know the difference little Jeffy Poo.
Quoting Forrest Gump works rather well for you, doesn't it.

Nothing was ever gained from being a coward. Pure and simple.

Forest, you missed the point about choosing battles and being more dick than man. No suprise there. Cao Poo Bear.

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In