This past Monday night's free screening of "The New Black" by Yoruba Richen, the 2011-2012 Robert Giard Foundation Fellow, drew a large and enthusiastic crowd to the CUNY Graduate Center. Professor andré carrington of Drexell University, a board member of CUNY’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS), and Giard board president Carl Sylvestre were on hand to introduce the film and the director. Following the screening, Ms. Richen took questions from the audience and was joined onstage by Karess Taylor-Hughes, who features prominently in the film as one of the activists who worked to pass a referendum in favor of marriage equality in Maryland during the 2012 campaign. "The New Black" will be aired nationwide on PBS on June 14. www.newblackfilm.com
Presenter andré carrington, activist and film subject Karess Taylor-Hughes, and Giard Fellow and filmmaker Yoruba Richen during the Q&A.
María Irene Fornés and Her Mother, New York, NY, 1990
Dramatist María Irene Fornés was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1930 and immigrated with her family to the United States in 1945. She started her artistic career as a painter before turning to playwriting in the early 1960s. Fornés’s first play to be performed on stage was Tango Palace (originally produced as There! You Died! in 1963). Her best-known play, Fefu and Her Friends (1977), looks at a group of women,their relationships, and their efforts to find greater meaning in their lives. Over her extensive career, Fornés has written more than forty plays and received nine Obie Awards. The first was given for her two “Distinguished Plays” The Successful Life of 3 and Promenade (both 1965). In 1972, Fornés formed the New York Theatre Strategy with Ed Bullins, Rosalyn Drexler, Adrienne Kennedy, Rochelle Owens, Sam Shepard, and Megan Terry, to establish a space for playwrights to test their ideas while retaining control over their work. She also started what would become a continuing collaboration with INTAR, a Hispanic American theater in New York. Fornés has taught and led workshops with many aspiring playwrights.
Her plays in the 1980s and 90s include Evelyn Brown (1980), The Danube (1981), Mud (1983), Sarita (1984), The Conduct of Life (1985), Abingdon Square (1987), and Enter the Night (1993). Fornés, who has had Alzheimer’s disease for more than a decade, completed her last play, Letters from Cuba, in 2000. It premiered at Signature Theatre Company as part of a season-long festival of her work.
On Monday, March 3rd at 6:30 pm, at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue (between 34th and 35th Streets), in the Elebash Recital Hall, there will be a free screening of the 2011-2012 Robert Giard Foundation Fellowship winning project The New Black by Yoruba Richen.
The New Black is a documentary that tells the story of how the African-American community is grappling with the gay rights issue in light of the recent marriage equality movement and the fight over LGBT civil rights. For a preview of this film visit http://www.newblackfilm.com/the-film.
Many of you got to see an early version of this film at our 2012 Benefit and back then we knew something special was in the works. Now is your chance to see the finished film and celebrate Yoruba’s achievement. We are delighted that she will be joining us that evening to talk about the making of this film that was recently nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Best Documentary and a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary.
It is thanks to your support that in 2011, The Robert Giard Foundation was able to award Yoruba a $7,500 fellowship. You were thus an early funder and helped her secure additional support from the Ford Foundation, Jerome Foundation, The Sundance Documentary Fund, the 2012 Creative Promise Award at the Tribeca Film Festival, and finally, a Guggenheim Fellowship.
This special screening is presented in cooperation with the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS) at the City University of New York Graduate Center.
To RSVP send us an email at email@example.com.
Samuel R. Delany, New York, NY, 1987
American author, professor, and literary critic, Samuel R. Delany (b. 1942) is best known for his science fiction novels, including Babel-17 (1966), The Einstein Intersection (1967), Nova (1968), Dhalgren (1975), and the Return to Nevèrÿon series (1979–87).
Born in New York City and raised in Harlem, his father owned and ran a local funeral home, and his mother was a library clerk for the New York Public Library. Delany’s grandfather was the first African American Bishop of the Episcopal Church, and his aunts were pioneering civil rights activists, Sadie and Bessie Delany, whose adventures inspired two characters in “Atlantis: Model 1924,” the opening novella in his semi-autobiographical collection Atlantis: Three Tales (1995). As a child, Delany attended the Dalton School and the Bronx High School of Science. He dropped out of City College of New York after one semester, and by age 20, he published his first novel, The Jewels of Aptor (1962).
Although Delany has identified as gay since adolescence, he had a tumultuous, fourteen-year marriage with poet Marilyn Hacker, whom he met in high school; they separated in 1975 and divorced in 1980. Since 1991, he has been in a committed relationship with Dennis Rickett. Throughout his career, recurring themes in Delany’s novels have included mythology, memory, language, sexuality, and perception, while class and social mobility became more significant motifs in his later fiction and non-fiction writings. Even though he never earned a degree, he has held professorships at various universities since 1988 and has been professor of English and Creative Writing at Temple University in Philadelphia since 2001. He has won four Nebula awards and two Hugo awards for best science fiction works over the course of his career and was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2002. His 2007 novel Dark Reflections won a Stonewall Book Award.
Beth Brant 1990 © Estate of Robert Giard
The University of Toronto Art Centre has recently acquired 53 portraits of LGBTQ authors by Robert Giard (1939-2002), part of Giard’s larger project, Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, an extensive and visually rich documentation of North American gay and lesbian literary figures. Giard’s decades-long project, begun in the 1980s, celebrates queer histories and literature in the wake of the AIDS crisis, and includes such iconic figures as playwright Edward Albee, poet Allen Ginsberg, and young emerging talents like novelist Sapphire and Dorothy Allison. UTAC will incorporate this acquisition from the Giard Estate into its own substantial archive.
Giard’s portraits have been described as a “transaction between the photographer and the writer.” Often captured in casual surroundings, the portraits are disarming in their unadorned, straight-forward style, with occasional subjects sitting in domestic settings. Between 1985 and his death in 2002, Giard took nearly 600 black and white portraits of literary figures including such Canadians as Beth Brant, Richard Labonté, Nicole Brossard, Michael Lynch and Daryl Hine.
“I believe it’s especially important that the Canadian authors included in Giard’s archive now have a home in Canada and in a university that celebrates Canadian literature. Students and researchers at SDS will have opportunities to see and work with the collection as part of their ongoing commitment to studying and exploring issues of identity, sexuality, and community and how they relate to questions of documentation, representation and aesthetics,” said Scott Rayter, Associate Director, Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies.
“The University of Toronto Art Centre is exceptionally fortunate to be able to share this collection and the legacy it represents with students, faculty and the public, through special research projects, exhibitions, and rotating displays,” adds UTAC Interim Director Barbara Fischer.
The University of Toronto has also recently acquired the nearly complete archive of Allen Ginsberg’s surviving photographs. Together the two archives—Giard and Ginsberg—capture an extraordinary cultural history from the 1940s to the beginning of the 21st century. The entire Giard archive is available at the UTAC Collections Online portal that can be accessed from the University of Toronto Art Centre’s homepage at www.utac.utoronto.ca.
You can also view a tour of the exhibition Just As You Are: Portraits by Robert Giard by following the Watch link on the UTAC website www.utac.utoronto.ca/watch.