Gays, immigration and the endless challenges of consciousness and activism

by Lawrence D. Mass

In the mid 1970’s I began my journey of consciousness and activism as a watchdog for reactionary developments in psychiatry that threatened to reverse the 1973–74 declassification of homosexuality as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.

During my medical training and first work as a practicing anesthesiologist in the Boston area in the mid 1970’s, I entered psychotherapy. Randomly selected Dr. Maxwell G. …

OPERA QUEENS, FANDOM, WAGNERISM and GERMANY

by Lawrence D. Mass

“Despite Germany’s praiseworthy culture of remembrance, many Germans have a jarringly tenuous grasp of the extent of Nazi crimes or the population’s involvement.” — James Angelos

Rosa von Praunheim

Rosa von Praunheim’s Opera Divas, Opera Queens looks at the world of opera in Germany through the lenses of gay men. Probing, empathic and entertaining, it’s also reticent and nonjudgmental.

What if one day it came true that being gay would be no more notable than being blonde or left-handed? In an idealized future, acceptance of human variance would be a given. Though it once seemed sensical to distinguish left-handed…

by Lawrence D. Mass

Music Critic Peter G. Davis (right) with Conductor Riccardo Muti

How many sopranos have had their singing of Dove Sono, the Countess’s great aria in The Marriage of Figaro, described by one of the world’s most discriminating music critics as “note perfect”?

Only a few of my closest gay friends knew of my clandestine career as a Mozart soprano, the successor to Eleanor Steber (at the Continental Baths). My rendition of Dove Sono may have been more notable for its musicianship than tonal allure, but notable as well is that it was executed (cough) while descending the treacherously narrow staircase of Peter G. …

ANDREA DWORKIN — THE CASSANDRA OF REVOLUTIONARY FEMINISM

Commentary and an Interview with Martin Duberman

by Lawrence D. Mass

ANDREA DWORKIN: The Feminist as Revolutionary.

by Martin Duberman, The New Press, 351 pages, 2020

“Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first stage it is ridiculed, in the second stage it is opposed, in the third stage it is regarded as self-evident.” — Schopenhauer

On The Future of Wagnerism, the collection of my writing, devotes considerable attention to 3 writers notable for the extent to which they’ve gone against the grain of mainstream opinion and bucked the status quo — Larry Kramer, Gottfried…

by Lawrence D. Mass

— 1/27/21, Holocaust Remembrance Day

“The Truth Nobody Wants to Hear”

From Left: Michael Shapiro, Gottfried Wagner, John Corigliano, William M. Hoffman, Lawrence D. Mass, 1995, at the home of Michael Shapiro, Chappaqua, New York

For Gottfried Wagner, my work on Wagner, art and addiction struck an immediate chord of recognition. I was trying to describe what Gottfried has long referred to as “Wagner intoxication.” In fact, he thought this would make a good title for my book. The subtitle he suggested was taken from the title of his Foreword to my Confessions of a Jewish Wagnerite: “Redemption from Wagner the redeemer…

THE SUPREME COURT DECISION ON CIVIL LIBERTIES AND THE PANDEMIC: LESSONS FROM AIDS

WORLD AIDS DAY REFLECTION, 12/1/2020

by Lawrence D. Mass

Imagine the headline: The Supreme Court Affirms the Right of Gay Men to Have Sex in High-Risk Venues.

On the basis of its recent decision about civil liberties in relation to gatherings for religious services, can we assume that the Supreme Court would have voted likewise in favor of not placing any restrictions on the gay sex venues, chiefly the bathhouses, that were comparably designated by health officers as high risk for the spread of HIV/AIDS?

When it…

by Lawrence D. Mass

Banned from California: -Jim Foshee-Persecution, Redemption, Liberation…and the Gay Civil Rights Movement by Robert C. Steele, Wentworth-Schwartz Publishing, 2020, 361 pages

Over the last half century there have been many notable exhibits on LGBT history and culture. A capstone of this legacy was “Stonewall 50” at the New York Public Library in 2019, commemorating and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the gay liberation movement sparked by the Stonewall Inn bar rebellion in Greenwich Village in 1969.

Typically, these exhibits are meticulously annotated and lovingly showcased. They tell of a history largely expurgated, ignored and otherwise denied…

REMEMBERING DR. JOYCE WALLACE, EARLY AIDS HERO AND PIONEER OF HEALTH CARE FOR STREETWALKERS

photo: Daniel Susott, Village Voice

by Lawrence D. Mass

Wallace was a tireless advocate of health care for streetwalkers and the first to tell the gay community, via me, about the epidemic that would later become known as AIDS

At 74, my memory can be spotty. But I have vivid recollections of Dr. Joyce Wallace. It was Joyce who was the first to tell me about a few cases of atypical pneumonia in New York City hospitals in 1981. …

ALEX ROSS’S TESTIMONIAL TO THE LIFE, TIMES AND ART OF RICHARD WAGNER

by LAWRENCE D. MASS

Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music

by Alex Ross, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 766 pages, 2020

For every window on Wagner we think we’ve already peered through, Ross has found more lenses and prisms through which to re-view them. At his best, Ross gives dimension to individuals, artworks and events, and captures their intersections with one another and the wider world of the past. But for all its evocation of the life and times of Wagner and the “artwork of the future” — Wagner’s and that of his many disciples, there’s little that looks to a salutary future for Wagnerism.

Alex Ross’s…

GMHC Founders Day Commentary

by Lawrence D. Mass

Before Larry

August 11 marks a milestone. It’s the first Founders Day commemoration since the passing of leading GMHC co-founder Larry Kramer.

It was nearly 40 years ago, in Larry’s living room on that day in 1981, that six of us gathered to discuss our emerging health crisis. I was a physician working in addiction and a journalist writing about gay health and cultural issues for the gay press. Nathan Fain was a gay journalist writing about nightlife for the mainstream press. Paul Rapoport was a gay community organizer and philanthropist. Former…

Larry Mass

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