The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on August 15, 2001 · Page 179
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 179

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Wednesday, August 15, 2001
Page 179
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Southern California City of Angles: 'Mandolin' Bash Lisa Marie Presley and her hunk o' burning love, Nicolas Cage, wined and dined at the Italian-themed after-party for "Captain Corelli's Mandolin." Other names in the news: Frank O. Gehry, Jerry Rubin and Suge Knight. E2 Cos Angeles Sfones "Tl WEDNESDAY AUGUST 15, 2001 WWW.LATIMES.COMLIVING II II I II I I II I V - I Hot Bods, Summer in the City Perspective By PETER WHITTLE SPECIAL TO THETIMES CC" A There seldom is heard, An articulate word. V V And the boys are all beefy But fey." These quaintly comic lyrics of "Welcome to Welto," a satirical poke at LA's gay mecca of West Hollywood, can be heard at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood in a new revue, cleverly if somewhat inevitably titled "Bed, Boys & Beyond." Five handsome, buff young : guys move deftly upon a minute corner stage and celebrate, bemoan, protest and berate the experiences, trials and tribulations of being a gay man in modern urban America. American audiences often seem to applaud the intention of a cultural enterprise rather than its execu-tion, and the night I went, this show appeared to have the overwhelmingly gay male crowd in the palm of its hand from the get-go. Its intentions were so honorably politically and emotionally correct, and so seemingly tuned in to the audience s own preoccupations, that the reception was predictably loud and enthusiastic. "Mr. Right," "Dance at the Gym," "Cruising & Schmoozing" the titles summoned up a supposedly universal gay search for love, sex, affection or all three. Along with this, the obsession with appearance and the gym is ridiculed, as you might expect (albeit by five immaculate and very fit-looking young actors) and there is the obligatory plaintive cry for tolerance. But some of the songs also had a real and particular resonance with this LA audience. The gist of "Welcome to WeHo" was that, for its happy clappy residents, those guys with faces unclouded by excessive thought, there was no earthly reason any sensible gay man would want to venture beyond WeHo's borders when he has everything gay that he could possibly want or need at his fingertips: great friends, great boyfriends, great gyms and great coffee. The general laughter of recognition in the audience tallied with my and my friends' experience. But were the boys on the stage at the Hudson really accurate portrayals of the guys I see every day on the streets and in the bars? For many gay men all over the world, West Hollywood has come to symbolize some kind of ultimate gay glamour, .and was certainly famous enough in my hometown of London for us to get the jokes of loan Rivers ("What separates the men from the boys? In West Hollywood, that's a crowbar"). Please see Abbey, E4 Now, in the summer of 2001, the Abbey is enjoying its recently acquired status as one of the hottest gay venues in the city. ED KRIEGER The play "Bed, Boys & Beyond" at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood is parallel to a night at the Abbey in West Hollywood. ' T'i """"iff ' 1 PjS 1?rf J ,s (yj l . Iff rr St M Photos courtesy of the Children's Aid Society Charles Loring Brace, the minister who founded the Children's Aid Society in 1853, spearheaded the orphan trains, which ran from 1854 to 1929. Children of the Rails A writer finds lessons for today in the 19th century orphan trains,' which rid New York of hundreds of thousands of street urchins by shipping them West. By LESLIE BERGER SPECIAL TO THETIMES NEW YORK As a creative writing teacher in one of this city's strapped public schools, Stephen O'Connor had a memorable student who, for all her promise, couldn't escape her family's poverty or illness. A gifted writer and actor, the teenager missed an audition and the chance to attend the famed Fiorello H. LaGuar-dia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts because her alcoholic mother needed her help at home. A few years later, that girl's story and the plight of her peers were a constant source of inspiration as O'Connor wrote about their 19th-century counterparts. Then as now, O'Connor said, poor children suffered society's disdain so much so that between 1854 and 1929, roughly 250,000 of them were sent away from the city to the country in an early experiment with foster care. Their experience is detailed in $3$ l' v.v- These children boarded an orphan train to Kansas around 1910. O'Connor's new book, "Orphan Trains: The Story of Charles Loring Brace and the Children He Saved and Failed" (Houghton Mifflin), a compassionate account that, like all good histories, is full of sobering lessons. "In this era when all politicians claim to be pro-family and when they claim they want to protect the innocence of children, the truth of the matter is we don't really care very much about children," O'Connor said recently. "Anyone who works with a child is underpaid What does that say about how much we value these people?" Another lesson comes from the well-intentioned methods of Charles Loring Brace, the idealistic young minister who founded the Children's Aid Society in 1853. Brace didn't actively seek converts to his Protestant beliefs, yet he was a virulent anti-Catholic, O'Connor's research showed. His charges most of them born to Irish, German and Italian parents became Protestant by default within their mostly Protestant foster homes. That in itself, O'Connor said, might serve as a warning about hidden agendas at a time when conservatives hope to restore religious charities' control of many social services. In an interview at his apartment, a labyrinth of books and folk art near Columbia University, O'Connor discussed his topic with zeal. An animated man with chin-length silver hair and chiseled features, he some-Please see Trains, E3 Chris Erskine THE GUY CHRONICLES The Times That, tike. Try Teens Souls LAKE TAIIOE-Yep, Dad went off the deep end again, so Mom says, "You write his column this week." "Again?" "Honey," she says to me, "how much worse could you do?" : Anyway, we're up here on vacation, in a cabin in the woods, which is really no place to bring kids from Los Angeles. Last night, I stepped on a cold penny in my bare feet and jumped about a mile. "What's wrong?" my mom said. "Something bit me," I said. "A penny?" You get the idea. I'm a teenager. Believe me, this is no place for teenagers. My dad acts like it's all great and everything up here. He calls lake Tahoe his "golden pond," whatever that means. ; Yesterday, he goes, "Hey, how about a nice hike?" like it'd be some big treat or something. "Come on, you guys," he says, but we just sit there on the couch, studying our elbows and stuff. "OK, I'll go by myself," he finally says with a shrug, then puts on a hat and 14 layers of sunscreen. "Hey, Thoreau," my mom says to my dad. "Huh?" Thoreau says. "Take a cell phone," she says. And off into the woods goes Thoreau, white as frosting and carrying a cell phone and some bug spray. You could almost hear Mother Nature laughing. Twenty minutes later, he's back. "I think I heard a bear," he says, all out of breath. "You sure?" my mom asks. "Or my stomach was growling," he says. "Either way, I knew it was time to come home." Here's a tip: Never go into the wilderness with my dad. Never. I swear, he's like on drugs or something. Mom says it's on account of the altitude and the fact he's paying, like, $200 a night for this dumpy cabin, with the chipped dishes and the basic cable. Oh, did I mention the night crawlers in the refrigerator? That's right, we have live bait in our refrigerator. Right next to the butter. "Mom, we're white trash!" I scream one morning. "We're not white trash," my mom says calmly. "Well, we do prefer domestic beer," my dad points out. "We're white trash!" my little sister yells proudly. Please see Erskine, E5 INSIDE Drive Time: Emotions Are Heating Up It's August, it's hot and drivers around LA are entombed in the sanctity of their cool, enclosed cars, behaving badly toward others on busy roads. E2 One for the Money, Two for the Shoes Shoes are a multibillion-dollar industry, and it was evident at the World Shoe Assn. Convention, where retail buyers glimpsed the 2002 spring lines. E2 Dear Abby: Locked in the Loo A police officer recalls getting stuck in a situation that still gives him (and his comrades) a chuckle some 20 years later. E6 Crossword E5 Bridge E6 Ann lenders E6 Comics E5-7 Astrology E6 Kids' Page E8 Ambassador s Stint May Be Over, but Diplomacy Endures By MICI 1AEL QUINTANILLA TIMES STAFF WRITKR Carolyn Curiel has visited Los Angeles countless times and in Air Force One, no less as a speech writer in the White House. Tourist of the Week One in an occasional series. But today, Curiel, who recently left her job as U.S. ambassador to Belize, is doing L.A. her way. Playing tourist here for the first time in 20 years, she's strolling along Santa Monica Beach, taking in some movies, exercising, partying at an awards dinner at the Beverly Hilton hotel and making a road trip to Vegas. But it's hard to let go of VIP treatment, even though she's a private citizen again. So along with the behind-the- i AURELIO JOSE BARRERA LA. Times Former Clinton speech writer and ambassador Carolyn Curiel. scenes tour of the J. Paul Getty Museum always being addressed as "ambassador" Curiel sees the works of Latino artists that are usually under lock and Please see Tourist, E3

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