The Daily Agenda for Saturday, January 4
January 4th, 2014
TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:
TODAY IN HISTORY:
Gay Man Stabbed to Death in Texas: 1995. Fred Mangione, 46, and his longtime partner, Kenneth Stern, 42, popped in to Dolly’s Place in Katy, Texas for drinks. The two had known each other for sixteen years, and had lived in the Houston area for the past ten, where they worked in the restaurant industry and shared their home with their two ailing mothers. That night, they had had a quite day with “the Moms,” strolled through a nearly empty local mall, and made plans to spend Valentine’s Day together by themselves in Disney World before deciding to grab a couple of drinks. They were regulars at Dolly’s Place, and felt comfortable with the place:
In this anonymous suburb west of Houston, where one fast-food restaurant blends into another, Stern and Mangione had managed an unusual popularity. At Community Bank, at the pancake house, at Dolly’s, where they were the designated gay couple among a largely heterosexual clientele, their appearance usually was greeted with cries of, “Here come Kenny and Fred!”
“People come into your life and they touch you,” said Suzie Andrews, 33, an office manager who had known the couple for several years. “They showed us a great deal. We were even aware at the time of how much they were showing us — the longevity of their relationship, how much love and togetherness they shared. They were like an old married couple.”
When Mangione started selling some Avon products to some of the bar patrons, someone yelled out that someone should “whip those fags.” A short time later, Daniel Bean, 19, and his half-brother Ronald Henry Gauthier, 21, who were visiting from Montana and were in the bar that night having drinks, talked to the man and appeared to have talked him down. Witnesses later said that Gauthier told the man they were going to mess with the “fags.” They then struck up a friendly conversation with Mangione and Stern. When Mangione and Stern decided to go to a convenience store for cigarettes, the brothers asked to tag along.
When the four return, Stern walked into the bar first, assuming the others were following behind. Instead, Gauthier walked in and began beating Stern. Bean then walked in and threw a dear-gutting knife with a six inch blade, covered in blood, onto the bar and joined the beating. Other patrons pulled the brothers off Stern. Wondering where Mangione was, Stern and the patrons ran outside to discover Mangione lying on the floor of a van covered in blood, the result of some 35 stab wounds.
When police arrived and arrested the brothers, they told police that they had just “fucked up a fag.” “It’s very obvious the victim was targeted because of the fact that he was homosexual,” sheriff’s Capt. Don McWilliams said. “They demonstrated no remorse at all over this.”. The two also bragged about being members of the German Peace Corps, a neo-nazi group based in California. Gauther would later deny being a member of the group during the trial, but Bean had the group’s initials tatooed on his arm.
Three years before Matthew Shepard’s death, Fred Mangione’s murder became among the earliest anti-gay hate crime murders to gain national attention. His murder also pulled the local community together, with a prayer vigil at Dolly’s Place and a well attended funeral. Community members also packed to court room to demand that Bean and Gauthier bond, then set at $200,000, was not reduced further. The judge decided, instead, to hold the pair without bond. After the trial, Bean was sentenced to life for stabbing Mangione. Gauthier was given only 10 years probation. Jurors told reporters that the prosecution failed to convince them that Gauthier was involved with the stabbing.
Gauthier’s sentenced was met with outrage from the Houston Gay Political Caucus, and Stern expressed his concern that Gauthier would live with his mother in the subdivision right next to Stern’s. “For the rest of my life,” he said, “I have to watch what he does.”
HIV-Travel Ban Lifted: 2010. One of the late Sen. Jesse Helm’s (R-NC) last legacies finally fell into the trash heap of history when the ban against people with HIV from entering the United States was finally lifted. The ban had been in place since 1987, when the former Senator from Anti-Gay USA added an amendment added to a 1987 appropriations bill which required that HIV/AIDS be included on the list of excludable diseases for immigration. When HHS moved to remove AIDS from the list in 1993, Congress retaliated by approving a measure that made the HIV/AIDS immigration and travel ban law. That law remained in place until 2008, when President George W. Bush signed the sweeping President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) into law. The law, which vastly expanded U.S. aid to combat HIV/AIDS overseas, also included a provision repealing Helms’s 1993 amendment. The Bush administration initiated the cumbersome and time-consuming rule-change process in order to lift the administrative application of the ban. That process was completed nearly two years into President Barack Obama’s first term.
Marsden Hartley: 1877-1943. He was born Edmund Hartley, the youngest of nine children in Lewiston, Maine. His mother died when he was eight and his father married Martha Marsden four years later. Edmund adopted his step-mother’s maiden name as his first name while in his twenties, after having studied art at the Cleveland School of Art, the New York School of Art, and the National Academy of Design. In 1909, he landed his first major exhibition at Alfred Stieglitz’s Gallery 291 in New York, followed by a second exhibition in 1912.
That same year, Marsden took his obligatory trip to Paris and Germany, where he met Gertrude Stein (see Feb 3, Franz Marc, Wassily Kandinsky, and Charles Demuth (see Nov 8). Hartley remained in Germany after the outbreak of World War I, returning only after the death of a young German soldier, Karl von Freyburg. Hartley’s famous Portrait of a German Officer (1914) includes a full range of German military insignia and banners, along with von Freyburg’s initials, regiment number (4), and his age (24). Harley painted a series of what he called the War Motifs, which were intended to reflect his revulsion of the war. But his usage of German imagery proved highly unpopular with American collectors and critics.
By 1919, Hartley moved away from abstract impressionism in favor of landscapes, still lifes and figure studies. By the 1930s, is figure studies turned decidedly masculine. In 1938, he painted Adelard the Drowned, Master of the “Phantom”, inspired by the death of a close friend, Alty Mason. (The nature of their relationship isn’t clear.) The painting features his friend’s unbuttoned shirt, hairy chest, and a single white flower placed at his left ear. A year later, Hartley placed Mason in Christ Held by Half-Naked Men, as a kind of an all-male pietà. But most of his work remained concentrated in landscapes set in Maine and Nova Scotia, where he remained for much of his life. Recognition and fame eluded Marsden during his lifetime. Not until twenty years after his death in 1943 did the New York Times recognize his portraits as “the boldest paintings of male figures in the history of American art.” In 2003, another Times critic drew a more direct observation: “Hartley painted what Whitman, the pre-eminent poet of the physical, hailed as the body electric.”
Michael Stipe: 1960. Stipe met bandmate Peter Buck at a record store in Athens, Georgia, that Peter managed. “He was a striking-looking guy and he also bought weird records, which not everyone in the store did.” Buck later recalled. They formed R.E.M. with Bill Berry and Mike Mills, and with Stipe as lead singer. The band’s first album, Murmer (1983), found critical success, even though critics couldn’t make out the lyrics due to Stipe’s mumbling. His vocal styling continued on their second album Reckoning (1984), by which time Stipe’s mumbling became fodder for parodies. Stipe answered his critics: “It’s just the way I sing. If I tried to control it, it would be pretty false.”
In 1985, R.E.M. finally began to hit their musical stride when Stipe decided to enunciate more clearly for Fables of the Reconstruction. The clearer singing began to reveal an earnest, albeit nonlinear, writing style in his lyrics. That nonlinearity extends to his personal life as well: he doesn’t consider himself gay. “I don’t,” he reiterated in 2005. “I think there’s a line drawn between gay and queer, and for me, queer describes something that’s more inclusive of the grey areas.” In a 2011 interview, Stipe said that he was “around 80-20” gay, but still prefers to identify as queer. “A lot of younger people have a much more it-is-what-it-is approach to sexuality. The black and white binary approach just does not work. So you find the terms that make you most comfortable.” R.E.M announced their retirement as a band in September 2011.
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