Top fives in gay culture

You want to know the best in queer film, novels, musicals, clubs and art? We can tell you.

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5 FILMS ALL SELF-RESPECTING GAYS SHOULD SEE

1 The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)
Before catching Sean Penn in the forthcoming Milk, see this documentary about the slain gay politician—it will break your heart with its record of hate and love.

2 Desert Hearts (1985)
In the classic girl-meets-girl tale, a professor (Helen Shaver) and a ranch owner’s daughter fall for each other in 1950s Nevada.

3 Angels in America (2003)
Tony Kushner’s political, wrenching AIDS epic is a New York story—and a can’t-miss history lesson.

4 Aimée & Jaguar (1999)
A sizzling affair is ruined by the Nazis in this luscious lesbian drama from director Max Färberböck.

5 Parting Glances (1986)
Steve Buscemi made his lauded debut in one of the earliest films to tackle AIDS.

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5 DOWN-AND-DIRTY SPORTS CLUBS THAT PROVE GAYS CAN KICK ASS

1 Gotham Knights Rugby Football Club
(gothamrfc.org) Rucks, scrums, tackles…need we say more?

2 Fast & Fabulous Cycling Club
(gothamrfc.org) These powerful lesbian and gay pedalers—known to go on 50- to 100-mile rides without a whimper—have calves of steel.

3 NYC Gay Basketball League
(nycgaybasketball.org) The only swishing going on here is in the baskets.

4 Big Apple Dodgeball
(bigappledodgeball.com) It’s an ironic (and coed) twist on that old “Smear the Queer” playground game.

5 The Big Apple Softball League
(bigapplesoftball.com) Thirty-eight LGBT teams (a dozen of which have been around since 1977) play with their balls in parks all over town.

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5 GAY-ART SHOWS TO SEE NOW

1 “Polaroids: Mapplethorpe”
(Whitney Museum, through Sept 7) In a timely show—both because of the onset of Pride and the end of Polaroid—the Whitney traces Robert Mapplethorpe’s use of instant photography (pictured), ranging from muted still lifes and erotic images of leather boys to a soulful portrait of his lover and mentor, Sam Wagstaff.

2 “Warhol’s Jews: Ten PortraitsReconsidered”
(Jewish Museum, through Aug 3) Three decades ago, when Andy Warhol gave the Pop Art treatment to Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and other members of the tribe, he was roundly criticized for trivializing the Jewish intellectual pantheon. Has society caught up with the effete artist?

3 Keith Haring
(Skarstedt Gallery, through Jun 28) Exuberant paintings, drawings, sculptures and artifacts typify the prolific oeuvre of the Radiant Baby creator, who would have turned 50 this year.

4 William E. Jones
(Whitney Biennial, through Sun 1) Known for his video collages of vintage gay porn, Jones presents Tearoom, made from found footage of the public-restroom site of a 1962 police sting effort.

5 “Pink & Bent: Art of Queer Women”
(Leslie/Lohman Gallery, through Jun 28) Gender roles and identity are examined through the work—both new and old—of 33 international artists, including the Guerrilla Girls, Harmony Hammond and Judy Chicago.

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5 DON’T-MISS QUEER-THEMED NOVELS NOT SPECIFICALLY MARKETED TO GAYS

1 We Disappear by Scott Heim
(HarperPerennial, 2008) A drug-addicted gay writer helps his mom overcome an obsession with missing children.

2 Babyji by Abha Dawesar
(Anchor, 2005) A schoolgirl in India entangles herself in three simultaneous lesbian affairs.

3 Name All the Animals by Alison Smith
(Scribner, 2004) Smith’s memoir recalls the loss of her brother and coming out.

4 Among Other Things, I’ve Taken Up Smoking by Aoibheann Sweeney
(Penguin, 2007) This subtle coming-out novel moves from a desolate Maine island to life in New York City.

5 The Book of Salt by Monique Truong
(Houghton Mifflin, 2003) The life of Gertrude Stein’s Vietnamese cook is imagined.

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5 TOP-NOTCH SHOWS GAYER THAN GYPSY

1 The New Century
(Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, through Jun 8) The hilarious Paul Rudnick serves up an unabashed defense of gay excess.

2 Saved
(Playwrights Horizons, through Jun 22) Same-sex lust in a fundie high school triggers a musical crisis (pictured). Who would Jesus do?

3 Prisoner of the Crown
(Irish Repertory Theatre, through Jul 6) A new drama depicts the trials and punishment of gay Irish humanitarian Roger Casement.

4 Room for Cream
(La Mama E.T.C., through Jun 7) Theater of the Two-Headed Calf never drops the soap in this biweekly sapphic serial about virgins, vampires and extra foam.

5 Bash’d: A Gay Rap Opera
(Zipper Factory, open run) The hit musical of last year’s Fringe Festival comes back to turn hip-hop homophobia on its ear.

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