During his onstage interview this afternoon, James Randi announced that ten days ago he married his partner of 27 years, artist Jose Alvarez, whose real name is Devyi Pena. This was presaged by a slide in Michael Shermer’s talk this morning, which, when touching on gay marriage, showed a picture of Randi and Alvarez in tuxes with carnations in their lapels.)
When asked by the interviewer about his “news,” Randi raised his hand, displaying a wedding ring, and said it was not for decoration: he and Alvarez had gotten married in Washington, D.C. a bit more than a week ago. Randi flew there; Alvarez, who can’t fly because he’s restricted due to a legal conviction, drove up. D. C. is the closest place to Florida where gay couples can be legally married. The audience gave Randi a standing ovation.
The discussion itself involved two filmmakers who have made a documentary on Randi that will soon be released; they screened several clips from the movie. The last one showed Randi returning home after a long trip, displaying his new silver-headed cane (“I guess I’ll have to find some silver cane-head polish,” he said) and being embraced lovingly by Alvarez. It was a very touching scene, and many people teared up.
I hope to meet Randi at the speakers’ reception tomorrow after my talk. He really is amazing, and was hugely entertaining in the conversation.