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About the Second Tuesday Lecture Series

The Second Tuesday Lecture Series is the oldest and longest running cultural event of The LGBT Community Center ( in New York City.

Since 1985, the series has presented over 140 noted speakers in the arts, academia, and politics in lectures, discussions, and readings. Speakers representing every major cultural award in America, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Grammy Award (Grammys), the Academy Award (The Oscars), Broadway's Tony Awards, the Lambda Literary Award, the National Book Award, and the British Man Booker award, have made presentations.

It was through this program that Larry Kramer (a last minute replacement speaker) in March 1987 spoke about the devastating plight of the AIDS Crisis. Critical of the organized community's response to the disease, what began as a speech led to an intense discussion and the decision to meet again the following week to see what could be done. This was the beginning of ACT-UP (The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), which became one of the largest direct action AIDS organizations in the world.

Unless noted otherwise, Second Tuesday programs start at 7:00pm, often with a reception before the presentation. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center recommends a donation of $10, although all donations are voluntary and all proceeds go to The Center.

Upcoming Speakers

 Tuesday, September 16, 2014 (the third Tuesday of Sept)
Doors open at 6:30, Presentation at 7:00

Alex Hortis' multi-media presentation on "When the Mafia Ran Gay Nightlife in NYC"

Before the Stonewall Rebellion in June 1969, the Mafia largely controlled the bars, liquor licenses, and clientele in NYC's gay and lesbian bars and clubs. The Mob had been openly doing this for decades, profiting on the people they could most easily control to maintain a tight grasp on gay nightlife in the city.

Alex Hortis highlights this long-running exploitation in his new book "The Mob and The City: The Hidden History of How the Mafia Captured New York," which includes a discussion of "When the Mafia Ran Gay Nightlife." His presentation for the Second Tuesday Lecture Series will include a slide show of bars and queers, and video clips from pre-Hayes code Hollywood movies showing drag queens and gangsters in The Village.

The Mob and The City book cover   Alex Hortis author photo

Mr. Hortis is a leading scholar on the American Mafia. Drawing on an unprecedented array of primary source documents (including the photos and videos that he will share), the book shatters myths about the Cosa Nostra's rise to power. "The Mob and The City" puts the Mafia squarely back into the epic history of New York City and helps to explain how The Mob affected the similarly secretive gay world.

BGS-QD logo The amazing Bureau of General Services - Queer Division will be selling copies of "The Mob and The City: The Hidden History of How the Mafia Captured New York" at this event:

Find more information about the evening here.

 Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Doors open at 6:30, Presentation at 7:00

Elisa Rolle presents "Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time" with six couples from the book

Days of Love is a massive undertaking, a 700-page non-fiction book that features more than 500 LGBT couples throughout history. Presented in a generally chronological order, couples from history include:

-- Religious figures, such as Jean, bishop of Orleans & Raoul II, Archbishop of Tours (1086 to 1117), as well as Aleister Crowley & Herbert Pollitt (in the 1890's)

-- Early American colonists, such as Mary Vincent Hammon & Sarah White Norman (1633 to 1654)

-- Authors and philosophers, such as Fanny Blood & Mary Wollstonecraft (1775 to 1785) as well as Margaret Mead & Rhoda Metraux (1955 to 1978)

-- Politicians and lawyers, such as Abraham Lincoln & Joshua Fry Speed (1837 to 1865) as well as Barbara Jordan & Nancy Earl (1967 to 1996)

-- Arts and the theater, such as Louise Abbema & Sarah Bernhardt
(1875 to 1923) as well as Greta Garbo & Mercedes de Acosta (1931 to 1960)

Each couple is given a postcard style description and picture. The individual stories range from historically interesting to politically important to whimsically charming. The many pages of acknowledgement of lesbian and gay couples from every station in life build a powerful narrative of love and partnership through history.

Nine individuals from six modern couples featured in Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time will appear with Elisa to celebrate their appearance in the book and their ongoing relationships:

  • Charles Silverstein (author of The Joy of Gay Sex, who is featured in the book with his late partner William Bory -- together 20 years)

  • Christopher Bram (author of The Father of Frankenstein and Eminent Outlaws) & Draper Shreeve (filmmaker) -- together 36 years

  • Jeffrey Costello & Robert Tagliapietra (creators of our favorite fashion house: Costello Tagliapietra) -- together 21 years

  • Fay Jacobs (author and journalist) + Bonnie Quesenberry (dental-medical laboratory administrator) -- together 33 years

  • Ulysses Dietz (museum curator and author, who has been with his partner Gary Berger for 40 years)

  • Vincent Virga (author of the gay gothic romance Gaywick and an introduction to this book, who has been with his partner, the novelist James McCourt for 50 years)

The 740-page trade paperback book (as shown below with a sample page-spread) is available online from CreateSpace and Amazon:

CreateSpace Store:

 Days of Love book cover     Days of Love sample spread

A couple of the photos from the book, showing the range of images and couples presented. In 1985, photographer Robert Giard set out to create an archive of gay and lesbian portraits. Many of his photos are prominently featured for the modern couples.

   James Buchanan William King sample pic   

Elisa Rolle lives in Italy where she actively reviews books and writes articles. She is the originator of the annual online Rainbow Awards. See for more information about her.
 Elisa Rolle author photo

 Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Doors open at 6:30, Presentation at 7:00

William J. Mann, author of the true Hollywood story "Tinseltown: Madness, Morphine and Murder at the Dawn of the Movies"

Best-selling author William J. Mann's latest book is an addictive tale of ambition, scandal, murder, and the modern creation of the California film industry. "Tinseltown" brings 1920's Hollywood to life as the movies are becoming America’s new favorite pastime as well as a booming new industry. Yet Hollywood’s glittering ascent was threatened by a string of headline-grabbing tragedies, including the murder of William Desmond Taylor, the popular president of the Motion Picture Directors Association.

In this richly involving narrative, Mann draws on a host of sources, including recently released FBI files, to unpack the story of Taylor and the odd-ball cast that surrounded him, including three ambitious actresses (Mabel Normand, Margaret Gibson and Mary Miles Minter), a grasping stage mother, and a gang of two-bit thugs. Overseeing this virtual minefield was Adolph Zukor, the ruthless founder of Paramount, who was locked in a struggle for control of the industry and desperate to conceal the truth about the crime. 

Tinseltown book cover   William Mann author photo

William J. Mann is a biographer and historian known for his studies of Hollywood and the film industry, including Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn (named a New York Times Notable Book), Hello Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand, and Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines (for which he won the Lambda Literary Award). Mann is also the author of Behind the Screen: How Gays and Lesbians Shaped Hollywood, Edge of Midnight: The Life of John Schlesinger, and How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood, which USA Today described as “like gorging on a chocolate sundae.” For more information, visit

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