Same Sex Show 2014!
“SAMESEX”, City Lights Galley’s 4th annual gay-themed art show, opened June 19, 2014, with work that reflects the current LGBTQ zeitgeist.
From the CT POST:
Not your grandfather’s ‘Downtown Thursday’
Editor Michael J. Daly Published 5:01 pm, Friday, June 20, 2014
Oh, the old timers would say, you should have seen downtown Bridgeport on a Thursday night, when department stores like Meig’s were open til 9 p.m. and the joint was jumpin to the tunes of Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman, and the gentlemen wore fedoras and the ladies their silk stockings.
Thursday nights, they sigh, gone the way of the factories that kept the rooming houses full. “Industria Crescimus,” the city seal says. “By Industry We Thrive.”
Well, you should have seen downtown Bridgeport last Thursday night. It wasn’t Artie Shaw. It was Orquesta Afinke and Vinny and Ray Afro-Cuban Latin Jazz, who had a crowd packed into McLevy Green on their feet and gyrating to an electric blend of salsa, cha-cha and samba.
Meanwhile, just across State Street, drag queen Sassie Saltimboca the drag queens and their courts, art lovers and the curious gathered for the fourth annual Samesex art show at the City Lights Gallery.
No fedoras in sight Thursday night, but a couple of black derbys on the handsome tattooed young men in the tight white t-shirts and shite short-shorts who performed with the curvaceous Ms. Saltimboca.
By 8 p.m., it was Bridgeport with a dash of New Orleans, San Francisco and Havana, as Lady Blaze, a waif of a woman, but towering on stilts, twirling a multi-colored umbrella led Bridgeport’s first — first official one, anyway — Gay Pride parade out of Markle Court, across State Street, to the Greek-Revival McLevy Hall, where Abraham Lincoln spoke on March 10, 1860.
Oh that Lincoln could have witnessed this scene.
But taking in the evening in his usual sartorial splendor was the unflappable former Democratic state Sen. Ernest E. Newton, who said life is good and that he is eagerly awaiting the coming activity of Democratic primary elections and his return to office.
It is one of the marvels of downtown Bridgeport that the City Lights Gallery, certainly with support from benefactors and tolerant landlords, has survived for 10 years, dating back to a time when downtown was more desolate than desirable.
The gallery, like so many ventures downtown over the last 10 years, was way ahead of the curve that’s bending now with a growing population of downtown residents, and machines outside apartment buildings that dispense “Mutt Mitts” for the collection of canine output that comes along with that increase in residents.
The crowd in Tiago’s restaurant, a spicy mix of city officials, off-duty police officers, at least one suburban grandmother and prowling singles, spilled out into the street.
Years from now, if the trend continues, and then for whatever reason falls off, another generation will be moaning, “Boy, you should have seen Bridgeport on Thursday nights,” and they’ll wax nostgalgic about the drag queens, the sound of salsa reverberating off the walls of the downtown buildings, and Lady Blaze toddling on stilts past the very spot where Lincoln spoke 154 years ago.
Downtown Thursdays, as this event is called by Bridgeport’s Downtown Special Services District, continues every Thursday through Aug. 28, with the exception of July 8.
On a somber note, I mourn today the passing of a guy I’d admired since I was a little boy, then a teenager, trying to figure out how men were supposed to behave and having a couple of models to examine. My father, of course, Jerry Daly, set the bar for me, but he had friends and, to my way of thinking, at least, if they were friends of his they had to be good.
Two of them in particular were Bridgeport guys named Phil Rahrig and Bill Onkey. Phil and Dorothy, Bill and Rita, and Jerry and Pat, my mother, were a tight group.
They’ve died, one by one, starting with Jerry more than 20 years ago, until it was down to my mother and Bill. We had dinner together a few weeks ago, the three of us. Bill was still his debonair, informed and opinionated self, even as his 90th birthday was approaching last Wednesday.
He died on his 90th birthday, maybe partly from the surgery he’d had recently to address a tumor on his bladder. He’d told no one, his three kids included, about the surgery. Daughters Lauren and Ellen had come home for what they’d intended to be a birthday party. Bill’s son, Bill, had been staying with his father after the surgery. So they all had the chance to be together.
Bill Onkey was a good man and, in my mind anyway, a reminder of the Artie Shaw records I’d heard as a kid and of the men in their cool Brooks Brothers fedoras.
Slide Show: Love Parade; Sassie and Performers; CT Roller Girls; In the Gallery; In the Gallery; In the Gallery; In the Gallery; HIV Equal by Tom Evans; In the Gallery; Love Parade; Sassie and Ken
The pieces I chose to illustrate represent different places in the world where people who identify as LGBTQ are faced with discrimination because of their sexual orientation. In a world where so much homophobia exists, people face arrests and imprisonment, or are beaten and killed over something they have no control over. My paintings serve as awareness art for those who may be unfamiliar with the unjust actions gay people around the world face by members of their own communities and their government who often turn a blind eye to the very people are they supposed to protect. The gay community promotes love, equality and pride in oneself. That is one of the most difficult things in the world to do in areas where bullying is rewarded and even encouraged. In some areas, a person can be arrested for helping or employing a gay person or just for the mere knowledge of a gay person in your community or family that is not reported. Gay people around the world live in fear from laws that find them unnatural and a threat to the “traditional families”. They live in hiding most times because of the lies being spread about them. Homophobia is found in every corner of the world because gay people are included in every nationality that exists. Even though certain states in our country recognize same sex marriages and protection laws, you still find homophobic people living there. My pieces honor all those individuals who have stood up for the gay community in places where it was not popular to do it and have suffered because of it. We thank them for their courage in trying to make the world more peaceful and accepting.
Stefan Novotny studied traditional drawing and painting at Paier College of Art. During this time he struggled with the dynamics of identity and sexuality. Over the course of his studies, he developed a keen awareness of emotion and universal language found in color and in human form. This inclusion of visual communication has been the foundation for Stefan’s work ever since. Sharing periods of happiness, confusion, ambivalence, turmoil, depression, and grief, with the audience, has become a form of therapy that no clinician could ever duplicate. Hopefully the audience can walk away with a new idea or feeling based on something they saw in his work on display.