Over the next two weeks dancing shows of all types hit central Scotland. At Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre there’s the stunning Nederlands Dans Theatre 2 (Thursday 24-Saturday 26 May) while the Playhouse hosts revivals of West Side Story (Thursday 10—Saturday 12 May) and Tap Dogs (Wednesday 16-Saturday 19 May). At the King’s Theatre in Glasgow is Rent (Thursday 10—Saturday 12 May) and Billy Elliot has been released on video. And why is it that gay men will make up such a large part of the audience?

Could it be something to do with male dancers who are incredibly fit, semi-naked, sweaty and sometimes in tights? Or is it the old myth about lots of ballet dancers being gay, so we go along to support our own kind? Were you one of those boys who avidly watched every Saturday afternoon Hollywood musical on BBC2, intrigued by the mincing boy dancers who surrounded the female star? What did those boy dancers get up to between takes?

Adam Cooper, Britain’s current dance heartthrob, and the adult who Billy Elliot grows up into at the end of the movie, is decidedly straight. Tap Dogs is so ridiculously butch it’s rather camp. And we know how many gay men love straight-acting macho builders who rip off their checked shirts to reveal beer bellies to die for!

Nederlands Dans Theatre 2, despite having no openly gay choreographer in its programme, is the creator of exceptional dance which transcends labelling and speaks to everyone. Its dance is rooted in a dramatic situation, athletic and delicate, hard and soft, feminine and masculine all rolled into one. Go see them.

West Side Story - the masterpiece of all musicals - originated from an idea by the choreographer Jerome Robbins. The curtain rises on dancers and dance

‘I have a love and it’s all that I have, right or wrong what more can I do but love him?’ West Side Story celebrates forbidden love

propels the story forward. In its perfect fusion of dance, drama and music, it is the unique collaboration of four American Jewish artists. Two of the men are gay (Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents) the other two were bisexual (Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins). lts tale of forbidden love - ‘l have a love and it’s all that l have, right or wrong, what more can I do but love him?’ - may not be gay to every audience member but it’s the most concrete articulation of what it was to be gay in 50s America.

To assess if things have changed that much, go along to Jonathan Larson’s Rent which is set amongst artists squatting in NY’s East Village. With a gay male couple and a breaking-up lesbian couple, it explores poverty, HIV, transgender and homelessness. It is sung and danced with grungy street-cred energy, and the composer’s tragic death infuses Rent with its seize- the-day passion. (John Binnie)


High/ights from the arts scene.

Craig Hill compares

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Gay comedy nights are happening at the Stand Comedy Club in Glasgow (Sunday 13 May) and Edinburgh (Tuesday 15 May). Called CDT on Sunday and CDT on Tuesday. the monthly night is hosted by cheeky chappie compere. Craig Hill. Craig has been wowing audiences with his Julie Andrews-does-Madonna impressions and his sheer chutzpah. Claire Summerskill. likened to a lesbian Victoria Wood. heads up the bill. It’s a laughter-filled alternative to the ‘scene' and who knows. you might meet that special someone especially in the gay blind date hosted by Jill Peacock. A romantic meal for two is the prize.

One of the best gay writers of the moment. Colm Toibin has been nominated for the world's richest literary prize. the International lmpac Dublin Literary Award for his elegiac novel The Blackwater Lightship. Written in a spare. eloquent Style. it concerns three generations of Irish women grandmother, mother and daughter as they come to terms with their grandson/son/brother dying of AIDS. More tender than his previous novel his Argentinian-set.

diplomat/youger man romance, The Story Of The Night The Blackwater Lightship is a truly great book of the yean

Turning 30 is a biggie for gay men and this is just one of the concerns of the new feelgood movie. The Broken Hearts Club at the Filmhouse. Edinburgh (from Sunday 13 May). A real ensemble piece about a group of gay friends in Los Angeles who play baseball badly, it features two small- screen stars. Frasier's dad (John Mahoney) and Superman (Dean Cain). Antoine de Caunes experiences the same kinda midlife crisis in the poignant French drama. Man Is A Woman (released on video) when he considers fatherhood over casual sex.

If films are your interest. the Filmhouse. Edinburgh. is running a four-week c0urse (6-27 June) on Wednesday nights entitled Queer Classics. Screenings are open to the public. and hope to include Victim, Basic Instinct and The Wizard Of Oz. Follow-up discussions will happen in the bar afterwards. Again it 50unds like a good way to meet new friends. Details on 0131 228 2688. (John Binnie)


A v r L/r 9' v.1 u LIL;

MOUng on to things more female. we ‘ind that the Queen of COuntn. Ms Doll; Panor‘. has a new album on the

shell. es. Little Sparrow sees Dolly keeping true tC he" roots with tales of lox e. hoce and heartache although it has to be said that her cover of '1 Get A Kick Out of You slightly misses the mark. .‘iith Dolly SOunding more like she has had too many blue Smarties.

From a c0uhthy legend to Hollywood legends. Diana McLelIan's The Girls iRcbson £317.95) is a fascinating book, It discusses the sexuality or bisexuality as the case was of some of Hollywood's leading ladies such as Greta Garbo. Marlene Dietrich and Tallulah Bankhead. At the time there was more acceptance of lesbian relationships and this book highlights the way the secret culture was used to the advantage. and enJOyment. of the women as well as the film industry.

Onto the small screen and a new TV docusoap Brighton - Out the Closet starting on BBC 2. Mon 14 May at 11.30pm. It focuses on gay life in and around Brighton and follows the stOry of various people including lesbian c0uple Hannah and Jo and their daughter Molly. They have tried to use their fifteen minutes of fame to help rid the media of misrepresentations of lesbians. We'll leave you to judge whether they've succeeded.

A few other things to look out for are Sandi Tokswg's new book Flying Under Bridges. Annie Leibovitz's book of famous women Women and singer songwriter Horse's Lochwinnoch gig with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. More ab0ut these next issue.

(Jane Hamilton)