Monday, October 21, 2013  
Peña traces roots of Miami gay culture | Arts Discovery Day

Peña traces forbears of Miami gay culture in '¡Oye Loca!'

Susana Peña
It is hard to conceive of a ragtag band of flamboyantly homosexual Cuban men as the progenitors of Miami's prominent and wealthy gay population. But as Dr. Susana Peña found, these mostly poor, stigmatized men in all their flouting of societal norms were at the root of the gay culture that has come to be so inextricably associated with the city, and especially its South Beach neighborhood.

Peña tells the story of Cuban gay men who came to the United States as part of the 1980 Mariel boatlift. They faced discrimination because they were Marielitos, and because they were ostentatiously gay.

These locas, as Peña refers to them in her new book, "¡Oye Loca! From the Mariel Boatlift to Gay Cuban Miami," presented a big challenge for both the Cuban and U.S. governments. The Cuban government was eager to get rid of potential dissidents but also feared the public perception of so many Cubans wanting to leave the island. If the U.S. government chose to exclude them due to their sexuality, the locas could not return to Cuba. However, mainstream America and many Cuban Americans considered this group "undesirable," and they were scorned for their openly "gender-transgressive" behavior, as Peña describes it. Their presence touched off a maelstrom of conflicting beliefs and ideologies that forced the city and the country to confront their basic premises.


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Kate Sommerfeld (standing), director of United Way in Wood County, speaks to honorees at the leadership donor breakfast hosted by President Mary Ellen Mazey.
United Way, Northwest Ohio Community Shares campaign addresses range of needs

The combined donations from BGSU faculty, staff and retirees are a powerful force for good in Wood County, as demonstrated by all that's been accomplished over the years through the annual United Way and Northwest Ohio Community Shares campaign at the University.

The University campaign has special meaning to new United Way in Wood County director Kate Sommerfeld and her assistant, Sarah Swegan, since both are BGSU alumnae. BGSU is the largest employer donor in Wood County, Sommerfeld noted.

Sommerfeld and Swegan, along with Angela Abbatiello, executive director of Northwest Ohio Community Shares, attended an Oct. 17 breakfast for last year's leadership donors to the campaign hosted by President Mary Ellen Mazey.

The 2013 campaign again has the goals of increasing the number of BGSU donors and the level of giving, said BGSU Chair Sara Bushong, dean of the University Libraries. The effort runs through November, with the aim of raising $100,000 for programs that directly impact the community in the areas of education, income and health.

"There are many giving opportunities outlined in the United Way and the Northwest Community Shares information; please join with me as together we make a difference for those in need," Bushong said.

Donors may direct their support to any of the agencies under the umbrellas of United Way or Northwest Ohio Community Shares. United Way also allows donors to write in any local, health and human service nonprofit agency that does not appear in the printed options. Electronic pledge forms are available and are fast and secure. Payment options include cash, check, credit card, direct billing and payroll deduction. All checks should be made payable to "United Way," which will direct donations as indicated.

Donors may also make an e-pledge.

This year, Ziggabyte at the University Bookstore has contributed two Kindle Fires to be raffled at the end of the campaign. In addition, weekly drawings for other prizes will be held, and everyone who pledges will be eligible to win. The earlier the donation, the greater the chance of winning.

To learn more about the 2013 BGSU United Way Campaign, visit the website, or email questions or concerns to

Arts Discovery Day introduces prospective students to campus

High school students interested in art and music are in for a comprehensive, immersive experience today (Oct. 21) when they visit for Arts Discovery Day. The annual Music Discovery Day, when more than 300 students visit the College of Musical Arts, has been expanded this year to include the School of Art, the Department of Theatre and Film, and the dance and creative writing programs.

Students and guests have registered to attend Arts Discovery Day – an open house where they can watch, for example, a glass-blowing demonstration by visiting artist Ché Rhodes in Robert Geyer's class, learn about large format photography in Lynn Whitney's class, see Margaret McCubbin turn a live model into a zombie in a theatre makeup demonstration, learn about acting principles and musical theatre, from Michelle Mensah and Michael Ellison, and film sound effects production from Heather Elliott-Famularo and Thomas Castillo — and attend a portfolio preparation session.



A leading expert on fracking will speak on campus Thursday (Oct. 24).

BGSU alumna Eva Marie Saint will be honored tonight (Oct. 21) in Hollywood.

Friday (Oct. 25) is the deadline for reduced-price registration for the NWO Symposium featuring educational reform advocate and author Alfie Kohn.

October 21, 2013