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Author: Alfredo Casuso

Anthony Turney – Eulogy

Anthony Turney: December 23, 1937 – July 4, 2014

A Eulogy, offered by David Perry

“The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend.”

The words of Henry David Thoreau: written in the front of a journal that Anthony gifted me with. Over 30 years, I was blessed and challenged to experience that friendship.  All of you here, have experienced that friendship too, and each in a uniquely Anthony way. Anthony made an impression on each of you: on everyone he met. Once at a party I referred to Anthony as my mentor to which he replied: “Don’t call me that. It makes me sound so old.” After that, I just started referring to him as my “longest serving friend.”

Anthony Turney cut quite the swath. The voice. The poise. The devastating good looks.  Upon meeting Anthony as he interviewed for his position at San Francisco Opera, Terry McKewn, Opera general director and somewhat of a flirt remarked to him: “if you have half a brain, you’ve got the job.” He needn’t have worried.  Anthony’s intellect was staggering: with an ability to lead and analyze that was incredible to see in action.

Anthony was Courageous. Complex. Compassionate, but often capricious and sometimes honest to the point of near brutality. Someone once said that the five scariest words in the English language were Anthony saying “dear, we need to talk.” He loved giving sermons: from the pulpit and also from his living room couch.  But above all Anthony was generous, loving and loyal.

His wit was sharp, often self-deprecating and sometimes completely inappropriate. When our friend Felipe was cremated last year, Anthony whispered to me in the midst of the crematorium, “Be careful when they shove me into the fire. You’ll be advised to stand far back.”  A joke he once told at a political colleague’s roast in Washington, DC resulted in the entire table from Utah leaving in horror. I can’t repeat the joke here, but see me at the reception following. Once at the gym, Anthony observed someone wearing a less than flattering workout outfit. His comment: “Some things you should stop wearing at 40. Actually some things you should stop wearing at 35.” Of course, I was the person wearing the outfit.

Anthony enjoyed crosswords, vodka martinis, cheap Italian white wine, and Chitos: “My indulgences,” he called them. He was horrible at charades but repeatedly brought down the house with his memorable interpretation of Stephen Sondheim’s “I’m still here” from “Follies.” His stories were delicious, his cooking — not so much, although he did master an exquisite coq-au-vin and his British trifle — well, it was nothing with which to trifle. He loved disco dancing, cruising aboard ship and lighthouses. But, most of all, he loved his family and friends.

Anthony was out as a gay man long before it was wise or safe to do so. He brought that integrity into his church, into this Cathedral, and all are better for it.  Anthony lost two great loves — Jimmy Brumbaugh & Luay Albazi — to AIDS and dozens of friends. Because of Anthony, millions of people experienced the power of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, and because of Anthony the AIDS Interfaith Chapel gives comfort and tribute to countless people here in Grace Cathedral. Three times he biked from San Francisco to Los Angeles as part of the AIDS LifeCycle and blessed Alfredo and me from his hospice bed before we did it, in his honor, last month. I’m convinced it is the reason we didn’t have one flat in the entire 545 miles.

Anthony greatly admired Somerset Maugham’s ‘The Razor’s Edge’, especially the film into which it was made. It chronicles the life of a WWI veteran who returns, shattered, by what he has seen in the trenches and devotes the rest of his life to seeking a higher truth. In the trenches as Anthony had been fighting AIDS discrimination, homophobia and injustice. There’s a quote near the beginning of the film that, I believe, honors Anthony as well.

“The man I am writing about is not famous. It may be that he never will be. It may be that when his life at last comes to an end he will leave no more trace of his sojourn on earth than a stone thrown into a river leaves on the surface of the water. But it may be that the way of life that he has chosen for himself and the peculiar strength and sweetness of his character may have an ever-growing influence over his fellow men so that, long after his death perhaps, it may be realized that there lived in this age a very remarkable creature.”

Come on up and Sit a Spell!

media contact:
David Perry & Associates, Inc / (415) 676-7007 / 

Come on up and Sit a Spell!

Saturday, September 21 Is the First Annual Porchfest Benicia:
A Celebration of Music, Community, and History

2 July 2024, Benicia, CA:  Is there anything friendlier than a front porch with a view? The folks at Benicia Magazine ( are inviting, well, everyone to come down to the Bay’s historic and charming town and see for themselves on Saturday, September 21 (1pm – 5pm) at the inaugural Porchfest Benicia ( A vibrant and community-driven music festival, the first annual Porchfest Benicia will transform the charming porches of Benicia’s vintage homes and the bustling storefronts of First Street into lively stages for a diverse lineup of musical performances, art and interactive family-friendly experiences.

“Come on up and sit a spell,” quipped Mary Hand, publisher of Benicia Magazine and the visionary who is spearheading the event. “Those of us who live, love and labor in Benicia know what a hiding-in-plain-sight gem our little town is.  We want to re-introduce it to the world, especially our neighbors around the Bay.”

Porchfest is an annual celebration that began in Ithaca, New York, in 2007, and has since spread across the United States and Canada. It brings together local musicians and community members to showcase their talents on front porches, storefronts, and driveways, promoting a sense of community and pride.

“Benicia, known for its artistic spirit and historic charm, is the perfect new host for this beloved tradition,” Hand continues.  “Porchfest is more than just a music festival. It’s a celebration of community, creativity, and the unique character of our town. We’re blessed with talented musicians and beautiful porches, making Benicia the ideal setting for this joyous event. This festival is our way of sharing the spirit of Benicia through music, inviting both locals and visitors to experience the warmth and charm of our community.”

Porchfest Benicia will feature live music from an array of genres including country, rock, pop, reggae, blues, jazz, Latin, R&B, and folk. Attendees can stroll from one beautiful vintage home to another, as well as enjoy performances at various First Street venues. In total, between eight and ten porches along with eight First Street locations will host musical acts, ranging from local favorites to artists from beyond Benicia plus 18 bands.

Adding to the festivities, local shops will offer special Porchfest deals, and restaurants will prepare “To Go” boxes for festival-goers to enjoy as they wander from porch to porch. This family-friendly event will also see the Benicia High School Band serving as “roadies” for the bands and performing during the day, with volunteers, affectionately called “groupies,” assisting throughout the festival.

Benicia Mayor Steve Young expressed his enthusiasm: “Porchfest Benicia is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the beauty and spirit of our town. It’s a celebration that aligns perfectly with Benicia’s tradition of community engagement and artistic expression. We invite everyone to join us in this unique celebration of music and community, experiencing firsthand what makes Benicia such a special place.” 

To ensure a smooth and enriching experience, off-site parking will be available with shuttles transporting visitors to the event. As a special touch, docents from the Museum of History Benicia will narrate the rich history of our town during the shuttle rides. A trolley will also circulate along First Street, providing stories about Benicia’s vintage homes. Maps and schedules will be distributed to guide attendees through the day’s activities. Maps are interactive and can be downloaded via QR code online via the Porch Fest website.

Porchfest Benicia is a free event open to all ages, with optional VIP tickets offering enhanced experiences for those looking to enjoy even more of what the festival has to offer.  VIP tickets are available online at

Nestled on the Carquinez Strait, Benicia is a city rich in history and culture, known for its vibrant arts scene, historic architecture, and welcoming community. Porchfest Benicia aims to highlight the best of what the city has to offer, blending music, history, and local flavor into a memorable celebration for all.

A Free Community Wellness Festival & Celebrity Kickball Game

media contact: David Perry / (415) 676-7007 / 

A Free Community Wellness Festival & Celebrity Kickball Game

Saturday, September 28: 10am – 3pm

Palm Springs Power Stadium

Free admission and parking.  Free food and drink. 
Free activities for youth and families

24 June 2024 – Palm Springs, CA:  The acclaimed nonprofit Boo2Bullying ( — providing outreach, mentoring, inspiration and hope to bullied youth and their families — is celebrating its 2nd Annual Kick Bullying To The Curb, Wellness Festival on Saturday, September 28 (10am–3pm) in the Palm Springs Power Stadium in Sunrise Park (480 S. Sunrise Way).  Everything is FREE for youth and adult attendees thanks to generous Sponsors and Community Partners.  Registration begins at 10am.  Advance registration is recommended at

From 10am. until 1pm, Boo2Bullying and Community Partner organizations will host information tables/booths and family-friendly activities, DJ, glitter bracelets, balloon animals and face-painting for children.  Festival-goers will also be treated to a “Petting Zoo and Cool Critters” show by the Mobile Zoo of Southern California and free hot dogs, nachos, icy lemonade and more at the ultra-fun Blue Truck Mobile Snack Bar and Atomic Game Truck.

From 10am – 1pm, attendees will engage in activities for all youth, families and community allies including the Palm Springs Unified Districts. At noon, the action shifts to the Palm Springs Power Stadium field where Coachella Valley notables and out-of-town celebrities will compete in Boo2Bullying’s “2nd Annual Kick Bullying to the Curb” game.  A special guest singer will sing the National Anthem followed by a team of Hollywood actors and A-Listers,  all to be announced in the coming days.

Sponsor underwriters of Boo2Bullying and this event are the City of Palm Springs, BIGHORN Cares Foundation,  Contour Dermatology,  and the Palm Springs Unified School District’s Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Tony Signoret, who will also be playing in the “Celebrity Kickball Tournament” as Captain of “Team Palm Springs”.

A partial list of Community Partners participating in the Wellness Festival includes the City of Palm Springs Parks & Recreation Department, Boys & Girls Club of Palm Springs, First Tee-Coachella Valley, Gay for Good, The LGBTQ Community Center, and Transgender Health & Wellness Center, The Bianca Group, Guru Magazine with more to be announced in the coming weeks.

The mission of Boo2Bullying is to provide outreach, mentoring, inspiration and hope to bullied youth and their families.  The nonprofit organization founded in 2013 provides free programs in schools and community organization settings and online over social media platforms.  Mental health is enhanced when children and teens feel empowered, build their self-esteem, realize they are not alone, and discover that they have a voice and are capable of standing against bullying to create positive change. For information about scheduling a Boo2Bullying program in your school or community organization, contact Dimitri Halkidis at (310) 435-8528 or

Owners of SS United States in Race Against Time to Raise $500,000, Relocate Historic Vessel that Bears the Name of Our Nation

Owners of SS United States in Race Against Time to Raise $500,000, Relocate Historic Vessel that Bears the Name of Our Nation

PHILADELPHIA, June 20, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — An irreplaceable historic symbol could soon be homeless and face destruction. The SS United States, the only vessel to bear the name of our nation, is in an intense race against time to remain safely afloat. The ship’s owner and caretaker, the national nonprofit SS United States Conservancy, has launched an urgent effort to raise $500,000 to help cover the costs of the ship’s potential relocation and other critical expenses.

Symbol of the Nation Evicted: Nonprofit Sends Out an Urgent Call to Help Save America’s Flagship

Symbol of the Nation Evicted: Nonprofit Sends Out an Urgent Call to Help Save America’s Flagship

After a lengthy legal dispute, the US District Court in Philadelphia ruled Friday that the ship must vacate the berth at Pier 82 it has occupied for decades by September 12, 2024. In her ruling, Senior Judge Anita Brody determined the SS United States’ landlord, Penn Warehousing, could not double dockage fees without notice as it did in its effort to force the ship from her pier. While a partial victory for the nonprofit organization, which has continued to pay rent throughout the dispute, the court order established a 90-day deadline to move the nearly 1000-foot-long ship to a new home.

A unique engineering marvel and symbol of the nation, the SS United States is the fastest liner ever to cross the Atlantic Ocean and an enduring expression of American mid-century technological innovation.

Now she faces twin threats to her survival. “The lawsuit and subsequent court ruling give us a very limited window to secure a new home for the ship and raise the resources for moving costs and ongoing expenses. We must do both to avoid the tragic fate that countless supporters from around the world have worked for over a decade to prevent,” said Conservancy President Susan Gibbs, the granddaughter of the ship’s famed designer, William Francis Gibbs.

“Our goal with this campaign is to save this great symbol of American pride and innovation. We have very little time, and we face many challenges, but we draw energy and inspiration from the SS United States’ own resilience and enduring ability to bring people together,” said Gibbs.

The SS United States has faced imminent danger before, but supporters from across the country and around the world have always stepped up to save her from destruction.

All contributions to the organization’s urgent campaign are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Those interested in contributing can visit   

“Our search for a new temporary or permanent location has been ongoing and began well before the litigation, but if a dock cannot be found in the coming weeks, we’ll be forced to commit to reefing or scrapping the vessel,” stated Warren Jones, a member of the Conservancy’s board and a former SS United States passenger.

Proceeds from the fundraising campaign will be prioritized toward moving the vessel, should a suitable pier become available within the court-imposed timeline. Relocating a ship the size of the SS United States is complex. It requires funds for insurance, tugs, surveys, and dock preparations to ensure the ship’s safe passage to a new home. The Conservancy has been actively exploring potential pier locations in the Philadelphia area and along the East Coast able to accommodate the liner. The nonprofit organization has also been engaging in targeted outreach to federal and state officials including President Biden, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, the U.S. Navy, regional port authorities, and others who could help with that effort.

“The time for action is now. Saving the United States should be a cause that unifies us during this time of division. Imagine how the images of America’s Flagship being towed away for scrap would be viewed by Americans and the global community. It would be a tragic metaphor to lose the nation’s flagship,” Jones added. “Now is the time for our leaders to engage with us to prevent this symbol of the nation from being destroyed.”

Since acquiring the SS United States in 2011, the Conservancy has achieved dramatic success in raising public awareness about the ship and building a global community of supporters. In 2023, together with RXR and MCR Hotels, they unveiled a full redevelopment plan demonstrating the ship’s commercial viability as a privately funded, mixed use destination. Renderings can be found HERE. These turnkey plans can be adapted to any suitable port city, but the project cannot advance until the ship secures a new home.

Since its inception, the Conservancy has also continued to advance public education about the SS United States through temporary exhibitions, events, and the care and stewardship of a major museum collection of original furniture, artwork, ephemera, archival documentation, and historic components from the ship.

“As we approach our nation’s 250th birthday, the loss of this American masterpiece would be tragic. A unique historic achievement that bears the name of our great nation should not be at grave risk of destruction. While we have never been closer to losing America’s Flagship, we have great faith that our global community of supporters will help us meet this latest challenge,” Gibbs added.

Learn more about the SS United States Conservancy at

Bob Driscoll

Report from European Jewish Association Annual Conference in Amsterdam, June 2024

Report from European Jewish Association Annual Conference in Amsterdam, June 2024

On the 3rd-4th of June, we at the EJA gathered over a hundred and fifty Jewish Leaders for our Annual Conference in Amsterdam – ‘Fighting back for our future’ – which became an emergency summit on the antisemitism crisis that has blighted the continent, and our communities since October 7th.

We were intent on finding practical solutions. And we did.

At a concluding plenary session before the close of the conference, having taken the many important ideas from the Jewish leaders throughout the summit, we passed a resolution of action for governments to take. It is attached, for your convenience, in 5 Languages (EN, FR, D, SP, I).

In it, we asked for the immediate establishment of an online reporting mechanism for the ongoing harassment of Jews and antisemitic threats suffered, and that this reporting mechanism be directly linked to law enforcement agencies for rapid response.

We also called for comprehensive police officer training in identifying antisemitism, dealing with antisemtism and arresting those that perpetrate antisemtic acts.

We urged each European public prosecutor office to appoint a dedicated proffesional to deal with antisemitic complaints, with a view to adopting much tougher responses to antisemitic incidents.

We reiterated our call for the IHRA definition of antisemitism to have legal “teeth” or in other words to be integrated into the country’s legal system, in order to ensure that breaches are punishable.

Finally, we delivered a criticism of EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell for his anti-Israel bias that has been a significant contributory factor to the rise of antisemitism.

The conference was widely reported in the media, and contributed to the fact that Borrell’s spokesperson had to participate in an extremely uncomfortable press conference questioning at the European Commission.

Now, we have the responsibility to ensure that the resolution is turned from words into concrete action.

We shall be advocating at the highest political and diplomatic levels on your behalf, to ensure that this happens.

Above all, the aforementioned summit and similar such activities exist for you, European Jewish Leaders, to unite in a common purpose, to share and propose solutions and to increase our impact, via our united strength.

We were also delighted to welcome new Jewish communities who have joined our Association in the past months, communities from Spain, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Moldova. The EJA is growing and hence- your voice is growing louder.

If you could not make it this year, we invite you to join us in Madrid on the 26-27 May, 2025, coinciding with Jerusalem Day, for our next Annual Conference. We shall be delighted to welcome you and other Jewish communities that you may wish to introduce to us, that share our values.

Meanwhile, we invite you to share the attached resolution widely and to click on the link below, to see the many pictures from our event.



Yours respectfully,

Rabbi Menachem Margolin

European Jewish Association