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March 22, 2002

 

Celluloid and Tupperware
combine at Cleveland film festival

by Anthony Glassman

Cleveland--Bringing positive results from adversity, the 26th annual Cleveland International Film Festival opened March 14 at the Tower City Cinemas.

The festival got off to a rousing start, with Jane Campbell becoming the first sitting Cleveland mayor to attend the festival. She spoke to audiences in the four auditoriums to open the festival, and attended the opening night gala, a champagne dessert reception and Tupperware party tied to the film Lifetime Guarantee: Phranc’s Adventures in Plastic.

The film’s director-producer, Cleveland Heights native Lisa Udelson, followed the "all-American Jewish lesbian surfin’ Tupperware lady" Phranc around with a camera, making the documentary alone until Eric d’Arbeloff joined the project as co-producer. Phranc is perhaps best known for her years as a punk rock and folk singer.

All three attended the opening night gala, which brought 825 people to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The screening of the film, which drew 1,000 people, was so successful that another screening was added, Sunday, March 24 at noon. The film was originally scheduled to only play once.

On Saturday, March 16, the festival staff and patrons were shocked by the death of longtime Cedar-Lee theater house manager Dayenu Senechaitanyah, better known to his friends and acquaintance as Dee. He collapsed at the festival, where he volunteered every year, and died soon after.

In a tribute to him, the gourmet shop in the Tower City lobby was re-christened "Dee’s Café" on Monday.

Another piece of bad news, though far less tragic, was the announcement of the withdrawal of the short film Ernest and Bertram from the gay and lesbian shorts.

The film portrayed Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street as a gay couple, playing on years of internet-fueled rumors that the duo would be joined in a commitment ceremony on the show.

Peter Spears, the short’s director, requested that the film be pulled from the festival to avert the possibility of legal action from Sesame Workshop, the company that produces the show. Spears received a letter from the Workshop following the film’s debut at the Sundance Film Festival, where staff from the Cleveland festival also saw it. He hoped the matter would be resolved in time for it to be shown, but had to request on March 12 that it be pulled.

Another gay film of a children’s icon was pulled from a film festival last weekend. Mattel, the toy company that makes Barbie, halted a screening of a film showing the blonde doll having sex with another female doll.

Barbie Gets Sad Too was supposed to play at a film festival in Mexico City, but Mattel received a court order barring the exhibition of the film.

The Argentinean production played to critical acclaim there and in Brazil, where it was shown on television.


 

TG woman is still a man,
Kansas high court says

Her marriage is declared invalid; $2.5 million estate
goes to dead husband’s son

by John Hanna
Associated Press

Topeka, Kansas--A marriage between a man and a transgender woman is not valid in Kansas, the state Supreme Court declared March 15, rejecting a woman’s claim for part of a $2.5 million estate.

The ruling came in the closely watched case of J’Noel Gardiner, whose right to inherit half of her late husband’s estate had been challenged by his son.

J’Noel Gardiner had gender reassignment surgery years before her 1998 marriage to Marshall Gardiner. He died a year later, and his son, Joe, challenged the validity of their marriage after discovering the sex change.

Marshall Gardiner died without a will. Under Kansas law, half his estate would go to his widow. Kansas law declares same-sex marriages invalid, but it does not address marriages involving transsexuals.

Transgender advocacy groups had praised a Kansas Court of Appeals decision in May that said the woman’s sex at the time of marriage was the crucial issue.

But the high court, in a unanimous opinion, said J’Noel Gardiner is not a woman and therefore cannot marry a man.

"The Legislature has declared that the public policy of this state is to recognize only the traditional marriage between ‘two parties who are of the opposite sex,’ and all other marriages are against public policy and void," Justice Donald Allegrucci wrote. "We cannot ignore what the Legislature has declared to be the policy of this state."

The decision was in line with a ruling in Texas that the U.S. Supreme Court let stand in 2000 by declining to hear a transsexual’s claim about her husband’s "wrongful death."

In rejecting that case, the Texas Court of Appeals declared a transsexual’s female anatomy was "man-made," and said it was up to the Legislature to legalize marriages involving transsexuals.

Kansas Rep. Mike O’Neal, chair of the state House Judiciary Committee, said he doubts legislators will deal with the issue. He said he was disappointed by the court’s ruling.

"As old as our laws are, do we have to anticipate everything in order for common sense to prevail?" said O’Neal, a Republican.

Bill Modrcin, attorney for Gardiner’s son, said the ruling did not surprise him. Had the court said otherwise, "it would have been a quantum leap," Modrcin said. "Quite frankly, I don’t think it closes the door to transsexuals. It just laterals the issue to the legislature."

Joe Gardiner praised the decision said he was "sorry it had to come to this, but I think it worked out like Marshall would have wanted." He contends his father didn’t know about J’Noel Gardiner’s past life until after he married her--a claim J’Noel Gardiner has denied.

J’Noel Gardiner’s attorney, Sanford Krigel, called the court’s decision "a step in the wrong direction," and said they were considering whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In New York, an attorney for an LGBT advocacy group that filed a friend-of-court brief on behalf of J’Noel Gardiner called the ruling "thoroughly outdated."

"It strikes me as the Supreme Court trying to bury its head in the sand and ignore the reality of 21st century science and medicine," said Jennifer Middleton of the Lamda Legal Defense and Education Fund. "More importantly, it ignores the reality of J’Noel’s life."

J’Noel Gardiner, who teaches finance at Park University, just north of Kansas City, Mo., was 40 when she married Marshall Gardiner, an 85-year-old university donor. Gardiner died the following year of a heart attack.

Krigel had warned the court that concluding J’Noel Gardiner’s marriage invalid would leave her the right to marry only women.

"You’re creating a situation where you would essentially be approving what would appear to be a homosexual marriage," Krigel said.

Since the Texas ruling, at least two lesbian couples with one transgender partner have legally married there.

The Kansas court didn’t address that possibility in its ruling. It did grant the $2.5 million estate to Joe Gardiner.


Group says military discharges rise again

More gays and lesbians are ejected since September 11

by Eric Resnick

Washington, D.C.--George W. Bush’s first year in the White House led to a record number of gay and lesbian discharges from the armed services, despite the perception that the September 11 attacks prompted "stop-loss" orders.

The military branches dismissed a record 1,250 people for homosexuality in 2001--the most dismissed since the previous record of 1997, and an average of 3.5 per day.

The "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy was implemented in 1994 as the result of a compromise agreement between President Clinton, who favored gay service members serving openly, and members of Congress who threatened grave political damage to the president and the Defense Department if the military ban on gays was lifted.

Current reports of anti-gay harassment also hit record high levels, increasing 23 percent from 871 documented in 2000, to 1,075 in 2001.

The Washington-based watchdog group Servicemembers Legal Defense Network released the findings March 14 in its eighth annual "Conduct Unbecoming" report on "don’t ask, don’t tell."

"There has been no pressure from the Bush administration to implement the anti-harassment plans begun in 1999 and 2000," said SLDN spokesperson Steve Ralls.

Those plans, especially an Army one resulting from the beating death of Pfc. Barry Winchell in July 1999, led to some decline in incidents of anti-gay harassment.

Ralls also said that the "stop-loss" orders issued by the military following the September 11 attacks for the purpose of maintaining a maximum fighting force have not, despite a perception to the contrary, stopped gay discharges.

"Our evidence shows that they are discharging as many gays since September 11 as they did before," said Ralls.

Ralls said that the September 11 attacks had no effect on gay discharges.

"They [the Pentagon] spent exactly zero time on it before September 11, and they have spent exactly zero time on it since," Ralls said.

SLDN executive director C. Dixon Osburn said the military has made few changes since a 2000 report by the Inspector General finding that anti-gay harassment was common.

"When a problem continues to fester, things get worse," said Osburn.

In a briefing following the release of the SLDN report, Defense Department spokesperson Lt. Col. James Cassella said the Pentagon is in the process of conducting a survey to get a better handle on anti-gay harassment.

Cassella did not indicate why such a survey would be any different from the one done in 2000, and few serious observers think it would be.

In 2001, the Army led all branches in discharges with 616, compared with 573 the previous year. Of those, 222 came from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where Winchell was murdered. 2001 marked the second consecutive year in which that base had more discharges than any other facility.

The Navy followed the Army in number of gay discharges with 314. This was down from 358 in 2000. The Air Force was next with 191, up from 177 and the Marine Corps discharged 115, up one from 2000.

The Coast Guard, which is not part of the Department of Defense but abides by the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy, reported 14 discharges in 2001, down five from the previous year.

One surprising bright spot in the Navy is the Nuclear Training School in Goose Creek, South Carolina, which discharged more gay sailors than any other Navy installation in 2000, and reduced them sharply to 28 in 2001.

"Now that the numbers have gone down," said Osburn, "we’d like to know if there are any lessons learned so we can share it with the other commands."


Court recognizes 2nd parent,
she must pay child support

by Randall Chase
Associated Press

Newark, Del.--Delaware has joined a handful of states in recognizing in a child support ruling that two women should both be considered parents of a 4-year-old boy to whom one gave birth after in-vitro fertilization.

The women, who have separated, are identified in court papers by the pseudonyms of Karen Chambers, the birth mother, and Carol Chambers. The child was given the pseudonym David.

Karen sought mandatory child support after Carol was awarded permanent visitation rights.

Carol, who says she helped pay for the fertility treatments and pays voluntary child support, argued that the state should not force her to pay because she has no biological or adoptive connection to the child, and because Delaware does not recognize same-sex couples.

Family Court Commissioner John Carrow rejected Carol’s arguments and ordered both sides to attend a child support hearing on March 18.

California, Pennsylvania and Washington are the only other states that have wrestled with child support cases involving gay partners, according to legal experts.

"This is a very new area of law," said Tiffany Palmer, legal director at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights in Philadelphia. "These are important cases because they reinforce that rights and responsibilities go hand-in-hand."

Karen’s attorney, Michael Corrigan, said Carrow’s ruling is a broad interpretation of the Delaware Parentage Act.

"It takes a very liberal reading of the statute, there’s no question, to say it can apply to something other than a biological or adoptive mother or father," Corrigan said.

Carol’s attorney, Felice Glennon Kerr, said Carrow went too far. The parentage act describes the parent-child relationship as existing between a child and his or her "natural or adoptive" parents, she said.

Palmer represented a lesbian in Pennsylvania who won child support from her ex-partner for five children they had through artificial insemination. An appeal is pending.

Settlement negotiations are under way in the California case, said Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco.

"It doesn’t matter if you cause a child to be born the old-fashioned way . . . or arrange for the birth through medical technology," Minter said. "In either case, you should be held responsible."

In Washington state, an appeals court last year upheld a ruling that a lesbian who stopped child support after her ex-partner restricted visitation was not legally a parent and should not have to pay.

Karen and Carol Chambers celebrated a union ceremony in 1995. They went to a fertility clinic together and Karen gave birth to David in December 1996.

Carol and a previous partner had a baby under similar circumstances.

"She talks these women into having babies . . . but she doesn’t want to help support them like she should," said Karen, who had four children of her own when she met Carol.

Carol said she voluntarily supports the children of both of her ex-partners, including $60 a week for David. She said Karen hasn’t worked since 1995 and relies on Social Security benefits and child support for one of her daughters.

Carol said she would agree to joint custody if Karen agreed to allow her more time with the boy, but if she is forced to pay child support she plans to seek sole custody.


 

After Rosie’s coming out,
adoption effort heats up

by Anthony Glassman

Tallahassee, Fla.--Efforts to rescind the state’s ban on adoptions by gay men and lesbians have increased, with Rosie O’Donnell speaking out on the issue on national television and over 63,000 e-mails flooding government inboxes.

The American Civil Liberties Union is backing a lawsuit by a gay male couple, Steven Lofton and Roger Croteau, who want to adopt the 11-year-old foster child that they have raised since he was an infant. Three other people have signed onto the lawsuit as plaintiffs.

The ACLU, spearheading a campaign against the 1977 measure, is hoping that O’Donnell’s fame will have the same effect that singer Anita Bryant’s did when she stumped for the bill to be passed 25 years ago.

O’Donnell appeared on the March 14 edition of the ABC news program Primetime with Lofton and Croteau. She had agreed to appear on the show to discuss her sexual orientation for the first time if the segment centered around the adoption ban.

The TV talk show host, who lives part-time in Miami with three children she adopted in New York, will have to give up a four-year-old foster child because the foster agreement was made in Florida. Friends of O’Donnell’s will adopt the girl.

O’Donnell contributed a column explaining her decision to become a foster parent and adopt children to a web site, http://www.lethimstay.com, which she set up with the ACLU. The site also gives a profile of one of the families involved in a lawsuit to overturn Florida’s gay adoption ban.

One of the links on the site has form e-mails, one for Florida residents and another for those living out of state, that can be sent to Gov. Jeb Bush and Kathleen Kearney, the secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

In the first three days, the site resulted in 63,000 e-mails being sent to Bush and Kearney.

10% of the e-mails sent from the site were from Florida residents. Bush representatives said that they received 15,000 e-mails, and that 20% of them were from people in-state.

O’Donnell also contributed the introduction to the new book released by the ACLU, Too High a Price: The Case Against Restricting Gay Parenting.

She writes, in part, "I don’t believe there’s a real debate to be had over whether gay people can be good parents - the only debate is whether to put bias before children’s future. This book lays out the reasons that restricting gay parenting is bad for kids and bad for all of us. It’s our job to take this information and use it."

The ACLU plans to distribute the books to politicians in Florida in the hopes that it will cause them to repeal the law.

The American Association of Pediatrics recently released a policy statement saying that the preponderance of the evidence available was that gay men and lesbians were as capable of good parenting as heterosexuals. The group urged that the good of the child be at the heart of any decisions regarding the placement of children. While the statement was not specifically directed at Florida, it is being used in that arena.

The ACLU also released statements from nine former Florida state legislators expressing their regret at having passed the law.

"The hysteria of the times led us to do the wrong thing," said Elaine Bloom, a former state representative. She worked with the ACLU and Equality Florida to approach her former colleagues on the issue.

Mississippi and Utah both outlawed adoptions by same-sex couples in 2000, but did not bar adoptions by gay and lesbian individuals. Florida’s law is the only one like it in the country.

 


 

 

News Briefs

Compiled from wire reports by Brian DeWitt, Anthony Glassman and Patti Harris.

Senator tries to ruin gay justice, ruins himself instead

Sydney, Australia--Sen. Bill Heffernan may have ended his own career on March 12 when he accused High Court Justice Michael Kirby of using government cars to pick up young male prostitutes in Sydney.

The comments sparked outrage in Parliament and the legal community. Kirby, who is the world’s only openly gay justice of a nation’s highest court, accused Heffernan of homophobia.

The opposition Labor Party said March 18 that government car records cited by Heffernan to back up his claims had apparently been falsified, although it did not say who was responsible.

Heffernan said last Wednesday he would not step down from the role--in which he acts as an adviser to the Cabinet--until his allegations against Kirby were dealt with by police.

New South Wales Police Minister Michael Costa told the state legislature last week that Heffernan had already made the claims to police in 1998. They were investigated and dismissed without charges being made.

Prime Minister John Howard on March 18 asked Heffernan to resign over the scandal.

"As a result of information that was given to me this afternoon I’ve asked Sen. Bill Heffernan to resign as parliamentary secretary," Howard said.

 

Mayor marches in St. Patrick parade

New York City--Mayor Michael Bloomberg reneged on a campaign promise not to march in the Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day parade, which does not allow gays and lesbians to march under their own banner.

The mayor did, however, also march in the Queens borough parade, which allow gay organizations, and he also invited the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization, the group advocating for a change in the Manhattan parade’s policy, to a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast at the mayor’s mansion.

ILGO had decided not to try to march in the Manhattan parade this year, breaking with tradition, and opted instead to wage sidewalk demonstrations in protest.

While Gov. George Pataki, Sen. Hillary Rodham-Clinton and Mayor Bloomberg marched in the Manhattan parade, which runs down Fifth Avenue, conspicuous by their absence were Carl McCall and Andrew Cuomo, the two Democratic candidates vying for Pataki’s position in this year’s gubernatorial race. Both candidates’ spokespersons said they would only march in the parade if it included LGBT people.

 

39 United Ways stop Scout funds

Washington, D.C.--At least 39 United Way chapters have stopped directly funding the Boy Scouts of America.

The chapters have cut their official ties with the Scouts over their policy of barring gays from membership or leadership positions. They include those in Boston, Seattle, Ann Arbor, New Haven, San Francisco, Providence, Evanston, Tucson and Santa Fe.

Each United Way chapter operates autonomously and can make decisions for itself as to which organizations it will support with direct contributions.

Most, if not all, of the chapters that have cut off funding for the Scouts still allow donors to specifically earmark funds for the organization.

Many chapters of the United Way have nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, and some require member organizations to sign contracts affirming that they will abide by the United Way policy. The Boy Scout councils cannot sign these policies or they would contravene the national Scout rules, which also prohibit atheists from being members.

 

Pickup killer gets life sentence

Las Vegas--An Arizona man accused of killing and robbing a man he met at a gay bar was sentenced to life in prison, after insisting that he is heterosexual.

"I’m not gay," Gregory Amato told Clark County District Judge Lee Gates during sentencing on March 13. "I don’t know where they get their evidence from."

Gates sent Amato, of Bullhead City, Ariz., to prison for life with the possibility of parole in 41 years.

The judge said he did not buy Amato’s claim that the killing was the result of an unwanted sexual advance.

Amato said he felt bad for the family of Jimmie Ingle, the Needles, Calif., man whose bludgeoned body was found April 26 near a water tower outside Laughlin, Nev.

A jury last month convicted Amato of first-degree murder, robbery, auto theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, burglary and fraudulent use of a credit card.

Prosecutors said Amato used Ingle’s credit cards to book a hotel room, buy gas, cigarettes and beer, and sold Ingle’s pickup truck to a prostitute for $300.

 

Guilty plea will stay

Middleburg, Pa.--A judge has denied a man’s request to withdraw his guilty plea in the near-fatal beating of his neighbor.

Judge Harold F. Woelfel Jr., president-judge for Union and Snyder counties, said at the March 14 hearing that he did not believe Todd J. Clinger’s claim that he didn’t understand the court proceedings when he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit third-degree murder.

"You’re either lying now or you were lying then," Woelfel said. "I do not believe you today. I think this is a classic case of buyer’s remorse."

Clinger, 21, could get up to 40 years in prison, and his 19-year-old brother Troy could get up to 20 years after both pleaded guilty in the March 2001 beating of 41-year-old Michael Auker. According to court documents, the brothers talked about killing Auker after they thought he made a sexual advance toward them.

Auker was attacked as he drank beer with the brothers at their trailer. After beating him, they carried him to his trailer, where he lay unconscious for two days.

Auker was in a coma for several weeks and still suffers effects from the beating, including limitations on speaking, walking, cognitive function and problems using his left arm and hand.

 

Fraud probe moved far away

Miami--Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, in what is viewed as an unusual action, has moved a fraud and forgery investigation of an effort to repeal Miami-Dade’s gay rights ordinance to another county.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office has spent months investigating accusations by Save Dade, a gay rights organization, that Take Back Miami-Dade engaged in fraud and falsified signatures on petitions to repeal the county’s gay-inclusive anti-discrimination ordinance.

Bush is reassigning the investigation to conservative, rural Polk County, in central Florida almost 180 miles away from Miami. The move came days before a contempt-of-court hearing was scheduled for Take Back Miami-Dade officials who refused to turn over handwriting samples.

Bush asserted that the reason for the move was that Miami-Dade state attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle took a $500 campaign contribution from Save Dade two years ago. Bush’s general counsel, however, agreed with Rundle that a past contribution from a complainant should not result in automatic disqualification.

The petition drive was successful, forcing a referendum on the law. A vote is scheduled for September 10.

 

Suit against teacher goes to high court

Salt Lake City--A group of parents have taken their claim that a high school teacher shouldn’t talk about being gay to the state supreme court.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed court papers with the Utah Supreme Court on March 14 in support of Wendy Weaver, a longtime psychology teacher at Spanish Fork High School who is a lesbian.

She has been sued by a group of parents and students who argue that state law requires her to keep quiet about homosexuality in class.

Fourth District Judge Ray Harding dismissed the case against Weaver in 1999. But her detractors appealed to the state Supreme Court last year. They say the judge made a mistake, and that teachers should "model morality."

Weaver won a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Nebo School District in 1998 after the school required her to sign an agreement that barred her from discussing her sexual orientation--in or out of the classroom.

The latest case in state court was brought by a group of parents and students who want her out of the classroom altogether. Another legal question for the Supreme Court to decide will be whether those people have any legal standing to sue an individual teacher.

The ACLU claims that decisions about who’s fit to teach should be made by the state school board and licensing officials. Those groups have refused to take any action against Weaver, said Stephen Clark, legal director for the ACLU of Utah.

 

Firefighters want out of Pride parade

Providence, R.I.--The American Civil Liberties Union is taking the case of a group of firefighters who say they were forced to march in last year’s gay pride parade and want the city to instead make the duty voluntary.

The firefighters claim that some of the spectators made lewd comments and assumed that they were gay.

Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, Jr., who also marches in the parade every year, compared the complaints to a Catholic fireman being forced to man a truck in a parade celebrating a Jewish holiday.

Supporters of the firefighters say that forcing them to take part in a private celebration that may be opposed to their own beliefs is a violation of their rights.

The mayor, however, contends that it is wrong for firemen to be unwilling to support a fire department function.

The firefighters filed a sexual harassment complaint last summer, alleging that male spectators grabbed them and made sexually suggestive gestures and comments as the truck drove by. When nothing came of the complaint, the crew’s captain notified the ACLU.

 

Another 2-parent case in Nebraska

Lincoln, Neb.--The Nebraska Supreme Court will hear oral arguments later this year in a case involving two lesbians who adopted a child. The announcement came a week after the court ruled against second-parent adoption in another case involving two lesbians.

The current case involves Serena Russell and Joan Bridgens. The couple jointly adopted a boy in 1997, with Russell listed as a co-parent. They moved to Germany, but Russell returned to the United States in 1999, shortly before the couple split up.

After living in Virginia for a while, Russell moved to Omaha and filed suit to be given sole custody of the child and to force Bridgens to pay child support.

Judge Joseph Troia of Douglas County District Court, however, found that the women had not properly followed the steps necessary in Pennsylvania for a joint adoption and that the state’s law only allows spouses to be co-parents.

The appeal contends that Troia overstepped his bounds in interpreting Pennsylvania law.

The American Civil Liberties Union, meanwhile, announced that the two women involved in the earlier case will not pursue their suit to the U.S Supreme Court, their last option. That case centered around a woman who conceived a child by artificial insemination and wants her partner to be able to adopt it without giving up her own parental rights to the child.

 

13% of gays and lesbians are parents

Syracuse, N.Y.--A new study released March 18 revealed that 13% of the gay men and lesbians polled had children under the age of 18 living at home.

The poll, conducted by the OpusComm Group, S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University and G-society, Inc., polled 6,351 gay men and lesbians with a 40-minute survey.

Three-quarters of respondents who had children at home were women.

Other findings of the survey, the 2001 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census, include that 91.7% of respondents said that they were out to friends, while 78.1% were out to family members and 64.4% are out at work.

More than half of the subjects said they were in a committed relationship; 49% of respondents referred to themselves as partnered and 3% said they were married or had a civil union.

Of those in a relationship, 13.7% had been together for more than 12 years, while 26% had been together for 4 to 7 years.

Overall, 54.8% of the respondents identified themselves as male, and 44.1% as female. Fifty-one countries were represented in the survey, but 92.4% of responses came from the United States.

More information on the study is available at http://www.glcensus.org.


 

Audience is pleased by Indigo Girls classics while Ani DiFranco rouses a disparate crowd

by Heather Gmucs

Two great concerts in Ohio highlighted the state of women’s music, with the Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco both putting on incredible shows.

In support of their new release Become You, the Indigo Girls have hit the road again. Powers Auditorium in Youngstown on March 18 wasn’t sold out, but the house was full on the ground floor. Mostly women and a handful of men came to see the acoustic duo cook up some southern fried folk.

There was a little talk about their new album not being as satisfying as the eleven that came before it, with the live show proving that there was more enthusiasm for the older songs than for the new release.

In typical Indigo Girls fashion the duo had the audience on their feet. With the first note of "Least Complicated," the crowd was singing along.

While the Indigo Girls are icons for breaking through with their mainstream folk, it seems as though Become You has lost a few teeth and the bark doesn’t do much without the bite. There didn’t seem to be the same togetherness as there used to be, like two old friends who had lost touch but have reconnected.

Michelle Malone opened the show, and was welcomed back to the stage with the Girls for songs like "Shame On You" and "Chickenman."

The classics were the favorites, since not many people had their copy of the new release yet and were buying it before the show. The fans’ excitement for the duo is still alive and well as most of the crowd was pushed against the stage. The Indigo Girls have three more shows left on their tour of the States, then they’re off to Europe.

Up up up up up up out of range more joy less shame living in clip. Puddle dive to the teeth like I said not so soft. Little plastic castle swing set fellow workers the past didn’t go anywhere. Not a pretty girl imperfectly dilate revelling/reckoning.

Any hard-core Ani DeFranco fan knows the deal here, and probably has every one of these albums in their collection. Any hard-core fan can sing almost all of the lyrics the prolific DiFranco has written.

Almost all of DiFranco’s shows are sold out on her Winter 2002 tour, including the one held at Promowest Pavilion in Columbus on March 15. The two-floor complex was completely packed with the most disparate crowd it has probably ever seen. Middle-aged yuppies, dreadlocked hippies and post-modern punks all rubbed elbows.

The petite and seemingly demure folk singer took over the stage with the power and command of a new world leader. Blazing through her first song with intensity, this little powerhouse roused even the barkeeps and bouncers to bobbing their heads and tapping their feet. Without a break, DiFranco lit the place up with "Fire Door," singing, "I make such a good statistic/Someone should study me now/Somebody’s gotta be interested in how I feel/Just ’cause I’m here and I’m real."

DiFranco should be studied; DiFranco should be an ‘ism’ sandwiched between philosophy and political science. DiFranco’s intensity bespeaks the beginning of a revolution, a new institution, an opening of a third eye seeing beyond the depths of love and lust, sex and politics.

Whether DiFranco is lamenting about being stood up at a coffee shop or ranting about the political machine, she always manages to carry the listener right back to themselves. DiFranco’s message is acutely personal and universal all at the same time.

DiFranco is in perpetual motion and constant evolution. Her latest tour with Noe Venable has taken her from Santa Barbara, California to Columbus, with teams of new fans always in her wake.

DiFranco’s next tour, sans band, is on the east coast with Dan Bern, then back to Cincinnati at the Taft Theater on May 3. the tickets for that show are on sale now.

 

 

 

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