Cher Public

Oral, history

“Yeah, I was in London and I got a text message from Renee Fleming. Isn’t that the gayest thing you’ve ever heard? Oh my God. I was lying in my bed in London and Ne-ne texted me. That’s how I found out! …. But honestly though, like real talk: it didn’t feel as good as when Obama won, or when Whitney died. In terms of gay activity on the Internet.” Nico Muhly muses (if that is indeed the word) on marriage equality.

  • manou

    Why did Whitney dying “feel good”?

    • LittleMasterMiles

      Because Nico was tweaking when he gave this interview and could barely finish a sentence.

      • Quanto Painy Fakor

        and I could barely concentrate to want to know what all the fuss is about. I wonder if Renay texted Jake Heggie too.

      • jatm2063

        It does sound like that doesn’t it!

    • armerjacquino

      ‘in terms of gay activity on the internet’- ie equal marriage didn’t fill the social networks the way the news of Whitney’s death did.

      • manou

        Yes, armer, I gathered that. Very poor choice of words though. LittleMasterMiles is spot on.

        • armerjacquino

          That’ll teach me to answer a question! You’re right, though, it is unfortunately phrased.

          • manou

            Sorry if I sounded discourteous -- I did not mean to. I just got irritated with the general disjointedness* of the answers: Arabic translators?? What was that about? (genuine question).

            *or more likely jointedness as LMM suggests.

          • grimoaldo

            ” Arabic translators?? What was that about? (genuine question).”

            He seems to be saying, whether this is true or not I do not know, that after the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001, the American military / intelligence agencies decided there was a desperate need for people who could understand Arabic but they wouldn’t take gay people for those jobs even if they were very well qualified as Arabic translators.

          • manou


          • grimoaldo

            Well manou I googled this for you and found:

            ” I read that the military was firing translators because they are gay. According to the Government Accountability Office, more than 300 language experts have been fired under “don’t ask, don’t tell,” including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. This when even Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently acknowledged the nation’s “foreign language deficit” and how much our government needs Farsi and Arabic speakers. Is there a “straight” way to translate Arabic? Is there a “gay” Farsi?”


            Apparently there were a lot of openly gay Arabic translators who worked for the US military who were fired because under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of the US military if you admitted being gay they kicked you out.

          • Henry Holland

            they wouldn’t take gay people for those jobs

            Years before I met him, my first boyfriend had been in the Army, training to be a linguist. One night, he and the guy he was with forgot to lock the door of the room they were in > they were caught > he got cashiered out of the Army via dishonorable discharge. He was extremely bitter about how he was treated, he loved what he was doing.

            I went to the dress rehearsal of Benjamin Millepied’s LA Dance Project program at Disney Hall last week. The program was:

            Forsythe: Quintett
            Cunningham: Winterbranch
            Millepied: new work w/ music by Nico Muhly

            I enjoyed the dancing of the Forsythe but the music was the same 8 bars of a Gavin Bryars piece repeated over and over and over, very boring. The Cunningham consisted of LaMonte Young scraping two metal plates while the dancers fell down and rolled around the stage. It was ludicrous, almost a parody of what “modern dance” is.

            Nico Muhly wrote the music for Millepied’s piece, he played the Disney Hall organ, plus there was a violinist and clarinetist. It was OK, his usual minimalist doodling sprinkled with the occasional catchy tune. I enjoyed the dancing but my two friends who are real ballet fans were less enthused.

          • manou

            You are too kind, grim. Should have done it myself, but am busy chatting at the moment (expect for this little incursion).

          • Camille

            This is for Henry Holland —
            Just what is the Benjamin Millepied LA Dance Project?

            Is he doing well there?

            I have always been interested in him since seeing him a long time ago in I Quattro Stagioni, @ NYCB. There was just something about that boy that stood out. Hope all is well in good old L.A.!

            And this, I always had intentions of going to the REDCAT Theatre and never made it. Do they still have anything significant going on there? Just curious.

            Wish there had been all THAT going on, on Bunker Hill when I was younger—it was just Phil&Dotty in those days, with NYCO making its gasting.

          • Henry Holland

            Just what is the Benjamin Millepied LA Dance Project? Is he doing well there?

            To the cynical amongst us, it appears that Millepied is using the funding he’s getting here to run a company with LA in the name, with big pronouncements about “the wonderful multicultural mix of Los Angeles” blah blah blah but then very rarely performing here (almost all their engagements listed on their website are elsewhere) and using east coast based dancers, composers and so forth.

            My friends who are big ballet fans were not impressed, for what it’s worth; they like modern dance as well so it wasn’t that. Plus, whoever decided that that ghastly Cunningham/Young piece needed a staging should have their head examined.

            I enjoyed the dancing, Millepied is quite good and the others in his company did a fine job. Frankly, if I hadn’t been comped, I wouldn’t have gone, the Mariinsky coming to Orange County with Swan Lake next week is more my thing.

            REDCAT still stages stuff all the time, but it’s stuff that’s not my cup of tea. I’ve simply been there too many times and left completely underwhelmed.

            Yes, it’s quite different now from the late 60’s/early 70’s at First & Grand. Disney Hall has been a godsend for the Philharmonic and until Domingo and Batezel nearly drove the opera over a cliff with the Freyer Ring, the opera company had carved out a niche here too.

            The Ahmanson and Taper have been refurbished and do some interesting stuff (I’m really looking forward to Jon Rabin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities at the Taper in November), the Dot itself desperately needs a renovation, but it’s being held up by money problems.

  • lottachatte

    Why did Obama winning “feel good”? Talk to me when he loses.

    • Clita del Toro

      Lotta: what the f is that supposed to mean?

      • lottachatte

        What do you think it means, Clit?

        • Clita del Toro

          I don’t have the slightest idea.

          • LittleMasterMiles

            Rare video of lottachatte:

          • Harold

            Please don’t feed the trolls. It’s pretty clear what lottachatte means, and he’s saying it only to provoke discord. Ignore him. No need to get our blood pressure up for no reason.

          • Camille

            And Clita,
            Please take Mr. Harold’s advice. He is a gentleman

    • whatever

      if Mittens doesn’t pull the throttle back — and FAST — lotta’s gonna be waiting a long time to have that talk!

      • Jack Jikes

        So-o-o -- when Mittens’s come-and-get-it day arrives will things of a certain kind talk of Obama’s foible in repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’? Whole lotta shittin’ goin’ on.

  • Nerva Nelli

    “And especially I’m thinking about artists like Benjamin Britten, I’m thinking about Tippett and Auden and that sort of thing, and obviously the people that weren’t closeted like, sort of, Sondheim.”

    Um… Nico is, like, sort of ineloquent or whatever.

  • thirdlady

    Even given the surreal and incoherent nature of this interview, if that interviewer seriously thinks that “Dark Sisters” is in some way transgressive or “pushes some buttons” (other than perhaps with the almost unimaginably microscropic subset of polygamist opera fans), he must lead a rather sheltered life.

  • Meimei

    This has sure become a stupid thread.

  • Camille

    Should it not be “née-née”?

    And also this: don’t shave your hair while you still have it.
    Guys go bald. It happens to the best of heads. Luxuriate in what you have, while you still have it, dude.

    • Cocky Kurwenal

      Too true, Camille, and a sound philosophy.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    At least the punk could sport a proper mohawk ! I’m still waiting for him to write a melody capable of moving people to tears.

    • thirdlady

      i think he’s aiming (tonsorially at least) to be the skrillex of classical music…

  • CwbyLA

    It is truly amazing how intelligent he sounds when he talks about music but sounds quiet uninformed about the whole marriage thing. I am really surprised that he doesn’t see this as an issue of civil rights, i.e. getting all the benefits that come with marriage but as a traditional marriage that his older gay role models defined.