It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s dlevy! One of my favorite parts of this weekend…

Originally published on It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s dlevy!

One of my favorite parts of this weekend…

…and this actually happened a couple of different times…

But first, at the Paley Center during the Q&A with Sheldon Harnick, the moderator kept speaking in shorthand, or apologizing when he didn’t because “we all know about the aborted She Loves Me film that was to star Julie Andrews” or saying things like “I’m going to tell you about the lyric changes in the TV version of She Loves Me so you’re not distracted agonizing over them when they happen.”

And then the following day at the park, when we played a game that somehow managed to get two people – NEITHER OF WHOM WERE ME – to submit “Paul Geminagni” as a celebrity name and I could get Reese to guess “Kevin Kline” in our game of celebrity by charading what it might look like to have sex with a young Patti LuPone….

There’s something really special about finding your tribe and being able to share in that shorthand, that code, the secret handshakes and mottos that only you know.

Pretty much all of us who came to the meetup yesterday have been posting on various media about how amazing it was to meet each other, and I guess this is my version of that. And yes, that was amazing, and it’s thrilling to finally get to spend in person time with some of my favorite Tumblr people and introduce some of my favorites to each other. (And the flirting! That was fun too!)

But there’s something more than that.

While I have other tribes like that in Boston, I don’t have my theater tribe. (And even in my Jewish circles, because we’ve become so (rightly) sensitized to being inclusive of everyone at various levels of knowledge, we rarely geek out in this way any more…)

There have been a few times in my life when I’ve had this feeling of suddenly *belonging* after years of alienation. My first steps into the Jewish youth group world; my entrance into junior high show choir; moving into West Hollywood (which I described at the time as the gay man’s equivalent of a Jew’s first trip to Israel)…. This weekend felt like one of those moments. And I’m not sure why at this point in my life having a theater tribe feels more important than it has for a long time, but it does.

So now I’m embarking on a process to figure out how to hold on to it. What’s Jewish about Gay Pride?

Originally published on

Last Shabbat, I was invited by Rav Claudia Kreiman to give the drash (sermon) at Temple Beth Zion in Brookline for the GLBTQ Pride Shabbat. She asked me to speak on the question of why gay pride is a Jewish concern. Here’s what I had to say:

Falsettos - Broadway PlaybillIn 1992, the summer before I started high school, I saw Falsettos on my second-ever trip to Broadway. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, it was the combination of two earlier, ground-breaking off-Broadway musicals by songwriter William Finn: March of the Falsettos, which told the story of Marvin, a Jewish man in his forties who had left his wife and son for a male lover, but who wanted a “tight-knit family” that included all of them; and its sequel, Falsettoland, in which Marvin’s son struggles with becoming bar mitzvah while Marvin’s lover struggles with the disease that would come to be known AIDS.

I don’t know that there’s ever been another show — or ever will be — that spoke so directly to me. A large part of that is simply that it’s the first time I can remember seeing gay lives portrayed, well, anywhere. I didn’t know any gay adults, and while I had an inkling that some of my friends might also be gay, none of us had yet spoken the words out loud to each other.

I’m just young enough to have missed Billy Crystal on Soap, and Tom Hanks in Philadelphia was still a year away; Ellen wouldn’t come out for another five years. So in 1992, gay boys who loved Broadway musicals had Falsettos, lesbians had newly out of the closet country singer k. d. lang, and that was it. The gays of Falsettos were Jewish – and I don’t just mean Jew “ish” – the opening number of the show is called “Four Jews in a Room Bitching,” which really sets the tone for how the rest of the show unfolds… that these characters’ sexuality and domestic struggles were wrapped in the familiar neuroses of my community intensified the resonance. Continue reading