Arts Scene For Queens
Author Robin Tyler once wrote, "If Michelangelo had been straight, the Sistine Chapel would have been wallpapered."
By Ben Hogwood
and the gay community have long had close ties
and the situation in Queens isn't any different,
with a number of artists committed to their work.
A fine example of this is Bayside-bred Lovari,
full name Anthony Lovari, who has combined his
roles as singer, actor, performer and activist
|CINEMAROSA’s held its fourth annual film festival May 18 serving the LGBT community of Queens and beyond with monthly free screenings of independent films by local, national and international filmmakers. The party was a complete success with more than 100 attendees.
The artist is probably known best for his music.
In 2006, his song "All I want Is You" became an
FM crossover hit, going to No. 1 on Hot 96 FM
in Portland, Ore. Unlike many artists, Lovari
likes to focus on the positive in his music rather
than the negative.
"With a lot of entertainment, if you pay attention
to the music, they are promoting a lot of negative
things," he said, citing examples of performers
such as 50 Cent including words like "faggot"
and "homo" in their lyrics.
"People wonder, 'Why are they playing this on
the radio?' We're buying it and not paying attention
to what is being said in these songs," he said.
Instead, Lovari writes music that will empower,
rather than denigrate.
"It's all about empowering people, making people
think, making them re-evaluate," he said.
While Lovari has a huge gay following, he doesn't
consider himself to be a gay artist catering to
one community. And he doesn't even restrict himself
to one art form. He is also a SAG actor with roles
in Sidney Pollack's "The Interpreter" and television
shows such as "Six Degrees" and "Law and Order:
Trial by Jury." He also wrote and directed "Shore
Thing," a movie about a number of shark attacks
in New York waters.
Lovari is also active in volunteerism and is currently
co-chairing a bike ride for peace.
|The documentary “Fabulous” was screened at CINEMAROSA this year.
"Basically, I feel everyone in the public eye
has a responsibility to give back our time and
work and educate in some way, shape or form,"
Hector Canonge is also a Queens filmmaker and
found a different way to benefit the lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Canonge is the founder and director of Cinemarosa,
Queens only "queer film" program as he likes to
say. The program is based at the Queens Museum
of Art and Canonge presents films from local,
national and international filmmakers in a variety
of genres directed toward an LGBT audience. The
films are shown from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. every
third Sunday of the month. The directors of the
films are invited to the screening and participate
in a question and answer period with the audience.
Canonge said he got the idea for the program in
2004, shortly after he had returned to Queens
from Princeton, N.J., to do a documentary on a
theatre group that rehearsed in Woodside. While
there, he noticed the growing number of LGBT immigrants
in the bars and clubs but few activities in the
area for them. He thought starting a film program
would enable people to socialize in a different
"We started very small," he said. "Basically,
I was hanging the widest sheets I could get, borrowing
the chairs and the projector and just doing it
The program began in a Woodside community center
and it was a struggle to get people in at first,
but through word of mouth and outreach efforts,
the program grew. In 2005, the program moved to
the Queens Museum of Art.
Canonge is currently working on his own project,
to debut June 5, about senior citizens in the
LGBT community called "Senior Pride." He is also
launching a zine featuring the writings of seniors
in the community.
"Our society is so youth oriented, how great you
look physically and how young you are. It's even
more so in the gay community."
|The documentary “Senior Pride” directed by Hector Canonge is an account of LGBT seniors who were interviewed during several Gay Pride parades in the city. The piece offers an intimate portrait of gay and lesbian seniors who speak about their experiences, lives and voice their opinions about youth, the Gay liberation movement and being old.
He said straight people normally have children
so they still have a sense of family as they age,
but in the LGBT community, that often isn't there.
"As long as you have a beautiful body, you can
dance, you're in. The moment you age it becomes
much harder," he said.
Another filmmaker making waves in the LGBT community
is Astoria resident Brendan Fay, producer of "Saint
of 9/11." The film documents the life of Father
Mychal Judge, Chaplain of the Fire Department
of New York who died during the September 11,
2001 terrorist attacks. However, Fay has received
notoriety lately not for a film he made, but a
film made of him. In March, the president of Poland
used a clip of Fay's marriage to partner Tom Moulton
during a national speech against homosexual marriage.
Fay has since filed a complaint against President
Lech Kaczynski for using those images.