This one is subtle, kids, so tune in. Selections from the Modern Landscape is a new work by conceptual artist Kenneth Pietrobono where he uses botanical signage to rename the existing plant life of New York’s Jackson Square Park in the West Village, with words that identify social and cultural dynamics. With this alteration of language, imagery and context he is making the underlying cultural experience more visible in the landscape. With names like “Displacement,” “(Re)Development,” “Pleasure,” “Class Barrier,” and “Loneliness,” Pietrobono aims to create a tranquil environment where visitors can observe the natural environment and reflect on the infrastructure of modern day society. In other words, it is melded into the landscape of the park and you either take notice and contemplate or just go about your day none the wiser. Like I said, it’s subtle, but powerful too. “Jackson Square is a connection point between many neighborhoods, making it an ideal space to highlight how competing ideas in the modern landscape have different meanings to different people,” says Pietrobono. Another recent projects have included Selections from The National Rose Garden, which is Kenneth’s site and not something government sponsored. It was featured at SCOPE Miami this year where Kenneth himself and his “DOMA” and “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” roses greeted visitors going to and from the fair, in a fully-planted garden. The 2012 National Rose Garden Commemorative Plate honoring the “Super Pac Rose” is one your politically involved mother, with an acute sense of irony, would be proud to hang in her kitchen. Selections from the Modern Landscape is on view until September 2.
Tag Archives: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
If you missed the live feed of Randy and Fenton on Bring Your Own Doc yesterday, you can watch the whole thing here and now! They sit down with Ondi Timoner and talk about Party Monster, Becoming Chaz, In Vogue: The Editors Eye, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and last but not least, they discuss The World According To Wonder! (Available on Amazon *wink*)
Welcome home, soldier! Sergeant Brandon Morgan of Oakdale, California, leaps into the arms of his boyfriend, Dalan Wells, following the end of his Afghanistan tour with the US Marines. After the pic went viral, Sergeant Morgan posted to Facebook: “To everyone who has responded in a positive way. My partner and I want to say thank you. We didn’t do this to get famous, or something like that, we did this cause after 3 deployments and 4 years knowing each other, we finally told each other how we felt.” (via Daily Mail)
Captain Stephen Hill, the gay soldier who was booed by audience members at a GOP presidential debate, has written an op-ed for The Advocate reflecting on the last year and explaining why he (and his recently married partner, Joshua) have joined seven other couples in a lawsuit brought against the federal government represented by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN):
That suit seeks the same recognition, support, and benefits for all military families, regardless of sexual orientation. We don’t know where it will end up, but if we can play a small part in helping to pave the way for other families like ours, we feel obligated to do so.
And indeed, the year has brought with it many lessons. It has taught me that sometimes we have to fight for what we believe in, even if it means taking risks. It has reminded me that my family and I deserve the same treatment, respect, and rights as all other military families. And it has reinforced for me why I joined the military in the first place — to be a soldier.
You can read the entire article here.
(Updated Repost) If I may, I’d like to give a shout out to all the gay military vets, today on Veterans Day. They don’t often get a mention, but they sure deserve the thanks. For myself, I can’t help but remember all the young gay men I met and served with during my time in the US Army. Most of all, I remember being stationed in Germany during the late ’80s. Back then there wasn’t a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy towards gays. If anything, the policy was “Don’t Even Think About It.”
I joined when I was 18 and, surprisingly, it was in the military that I came to accept my sexuality. And though it was a totally secret society, there was actually a very vibrant gay scene in the military back in the day. I remember two gay clubs in particular, both in Frankfurt. The dance club was called Construction 5 and the cafe/bar was called something like NYC Cafe, which I remember only because the decor was of the Manhattan skyline. Both clubs were off-base and owned by German civilians. This was essential, because it hampered the MPs (Military Police) from patrolling them to harass and spy on us like they could if we were on base. The clientele was almost exclusively American gay military service members – Army and Air Force with a few German civilians sprinkled in for good measure. I can remember walking into those clubs like it was yesterday. I remember so many friends and faces of gay soldiers who were forced to serve in silence and the struggles we faced. So today I just want to remember them and give thanks to all my fellow veterans both straight and gay for their service to and sacrifice for our country.
Update: I would also like to add my thanks and praise to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) for all their tireless work on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and their continuing efforts to achieve equality for gay and lesbian service members. SLDN has called on President Obama to sign an executive order mandating the inclusion of sexual orientation protections to the military’s current nondiscrimination policy (sadly, their calls on the president concerning that issue continue to fall on deaf ears). SLDN has also recently announced plans to file a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of laws that make married military same-sex couples ineligible for the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts. The struggle continues. Keep up the good work. And Happy Veterans Day!
The gay military advocacy group Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) has announced it will file a federal lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of laws that make married military same-sex couples ineligible for the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts and plans to prove that DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment to due process in doing so. SLDN is also working to change Title 10 of the US Code that governs the armed forces and defines marriage as between two individuals of the opposite sex. “There is a huge disparity between gay and straight service members who are providing equal service, taking equal risks, making equal sacrifices,” said Aubrey Sarvis of SLDN. “This inequity should not and cannot stand.” (via Huffingtonpost)
The Obama administration’s prosecution of Dan Choi for chaining himself to the White House fence in protest of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, had been temporarily suspended after Judge Facciola made a preliminary ruling that there was enough evidence to allow for Choi’s attorneys to argue that he was a victim of “selective” or “vindictive” prosecution. Defense Attorney Norman Kent has said the decision to persecute Choi and others “may go all the way to the White House.” Obama’s DoJ has since filed a rare Writ of Mandamus to prevent the judge from allowing Choi’s attorneys to pursue a vindictive prosecution defense. Another of Choi’s attorneys, Robert J. Feldman, filed their response to the petition for a Writ of Mandumus on Wednesday, and a short time later (surprise, surprise), the Secret Service released emails showing that it was indeed the White House that had tipped them off about the protest – before it even happened!
In their response, Choi’s attorney, Robert J. Feldman, argues that the elements for filing a Writ of Mandamus have not been met and that the government has “dirty hands.” The Mandumus Writ should be rejected over their persecution of Dan Choi, by prosecuting him separately from the other protesters, failing to prepare adequately for the case, and for withholding material which it had a duty to disclose that would’ve helped Choi’s defense strategy. Feldman also made a prediction for the future of this case: “We will permit the government a reasonable time to reply if they wish. And when they lose this Mandamus, one of three things will happen: Dan Choi will be acquitted, the charges against Dan Choi will be dismissed, or – the most preferable of all – the trial will continue, and the United States vs. Choi will become Choi vs. The United States, de facto. It is in the interest of the whole LGBT community for the trial to continue, where the GOVERNMENT rather than Choi would be on trial.” (via FireDogLake)
From today’s Huffington Post: “Directed by Emmy winners Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, the HBO documentary illustrates the tumultuous evolution of the DADT legislation – from the military’s ban of homosexuals during World War II, to Bill Clinton’s ambitious promise to lift the ban as a young presidential candidate in 1992 and the eventual political compromise that led to the creation of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 1993, which forced many soldiers to lie about their sexual orientation and live in secrecy for fear of being discharged. … ’Our original thought was to make a documentary about the institutionalized homophobia within the military because none of us actually thought the repeal would happen,’ said Bailey at the Monday screening of the documentary.”
The Strange History of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell debuts at the crack of Tuesday – 12AM – and the stroke of repeal, followed by a primetime replay tomorrow night at 8PM ET on HBO.