The Gay Men's Edition
this issue sponsored by
the proud publishers of
Blue Days, Black Nights
Academy Award nominee
"Heartbreaking, guileless, and unforgettable,"
- novelist Scott Spencer
"Harrowing…and very, very funny indeed,"
- director Jonathan Demme
Blue Days Black Nights is a gripping, intimate and darkly comic memoir of an obsessive (and almost fatal) love affair.
Volume 1 Number 10
By Richard Labonte
Falling Behind & Catching Up
As I mentioned at the end of the last installment of Books To
Watch Out For/Gay Men’s Edition, I fell behind some over the summer for
personal (but good) and professional (read - a contract that paid the bills)
reasons. The books piled up. So though I try to shape each issue around some
sort of theme - remembering editors and authors like Don Allen and Christopher
Isherwood, exploring self-publishing, discussing erotica, spotlighting paper
editions of notable hardcovers - this is, this time: The Theme-less Issue.
Except for the unifying fact that there are dozens of books I
liked (or that others have liked, or that I hope to like when I actually see
them) mentioned. I guess that’s a theme. So, here, erratically but
emphatically, are an eclectic bunch of publications that recently tickled my
Moe's Villa & Other Stories, by
James Purdy (Carroll & Graf, 274 pages, $14)
I've been transfixed by Purdy's astonishing storytelling for
decades - he's one of a handful of writers who never fails to blot out the
world around me, whose words whoosh me away to another place. Where lonely boys
find refuge at the surreal "Moe's Villa." Where two elderly, feeble
ladies who love each other inherit a fortune from an idolized movie star. Where
a cat lives like a king and an opera diva lives for her cat. Where a lonely old
man babbles to himself every night in a bar's phone booth. Where a young man
who wants most of all to steal a kiss from a boy - "No Stranger to
Luke" - steals stray coins from his family instead. Purdy's prose doesn't
show off: it's the epitome of polished - quiet and natural, lush and lean,
echoing the melancholy and imagining the impossible. These dozen stories -
published in a British edition in 2000, with a cover that better suits the
fairy tale-askew tone of the tales than the one on this U.S. reprint - are
delicately depraved delights.
Playwright Edward Albee honors Purdy as "one of our few fine
seriocomic novelists" and praises Malcolm, which he had adapted for
the stage, as "deeply sad and terribly funny" - almost 40 years
A Purdy bibliography:
The Role Players: A Dick Hardesty Mystery, by
Dorien Grey (GLB Publishers, 245 pages, $15.95)
I've developed quite a fondness for Dorien Grey's Dick Hardesty
mystery series. There's not much blood, there's lots of romance and love (and
some sex), and there are continuing characters that have evolved and matured
through the series' eight books. In this outing, Dick and his adorably
wide-eyed young ex-hustler beau are in Manhattan to visit theatre friends -
and, inevitably, are drawn into the middle of a messy murder with assorted
suspects. Grey does a good job of darting from one likely killer to another,
managing to scatter the red herrings with style. One annoyance, though:
whenever did anyone in NYC have to call for a taxi, as the players in The
Role Players seem to do every few pages!
The first chapter:
And Dorien Grey has written a gay western, too - Calico,
available in e-book format here:
Tropic of Murder: A Nick Hoffman Mystery, by
Lev Raphael (Perseverance Press/John Daniel & Company, 208 pages,
And I've developed a crush (purely of the head, not of the heart)
on Lev Raphael's witty, literate, and cheerfully satirical Nick Hoffman
mysteries. This is the sixth, but the first I've read since Let's Get
Criminal (1996) and The Edith Wharton Murders (1997), and enough
that happened in the three intervening books crops up here to render the plot a
tad confusing... all the more reason for me to go back and fill in the gaps.
Raphael writes with cynical glee about the internecine blood-letting of
academic politics, which is one of the delights of this book; the mystery - and
the blood - thicken when acerbic Nick and his exhausted partner Stefan flee the
personally bitter and bitterly cold university whirl for a Club Med getaway on
the turbulent island of Serenity. Which is anything but.
Author's website: http://www.levraphael.com
Slovakian Boy, by William Maltese
(Green Candy Press, 177 pages, $14.95)
Ravishing young Pavel has something for everyone, is something for
everyone, and does most everyone in this cinematic series of erotic Czech
encounters. Maltese, playing off the success of porn videos featuring lean and
luscious East European lads, has written a collection of words worth a thousand
pictures - 17 short stories, a constellation of characters orbiting around a
goodhearted, hard-muscled student: a honeymooning "straight" man,
lusty schoolmates, a horny history teacher, a bombastic German tourist, an
eager-to-be-pleased farmer... young men, older men, handsome men, lonely men,
all drawn to the generous sexual heat of one Slovakian boy. Story by story,
this collection works superbly as after-hours reading. As a whole, however,
it's also a jaunty, joyous celebration of sexual abundance featuring a likeably
guileless and quite charming young fellow.
Author's website: http://www.williammaltese.com
Pink Steam, by Dodie Bellamy (Suspect
Thoughts Press, 190 pages, $16.95)
A "fragmented autobiography," says Bellamy of this
collection of blazing anarchy and brilliant perception. And, also, "about
the ridiculousness of the categories of truth versus fiction." Somewhere
between the truth of life and the lies of fiction - that's where the essence of
Pink Steam cavorts. Bellamy's selection of a decade's worth of essays
and stories and fragments and fantasies and letters is light reading and heavy
thinking, defying gender and defining the exhilaration of sexual, artistic, and
emotional freedoms. And. It's. Really. Really. Fun. To. Read! Perhaps not a
book for most every fan of easy mysteries and jaunty raunch - but books like
this, happily and smartly, expand the spectrum of queer reading (and anyone who
favors Purdy, above, and Gluck, below, will find it good.
Read an excerpt: http://www.suspectthoughts.com/spew.html
Read an interview: http://www.suspectthoughts.com/bellamy2.html
A review of The Letters of Mina Harker, just reissued by
the University of Wisconsin Press: http://www.dhalgren.com/Othertexts/Dodie.html
Denny Smith, by Robert Gluck (Clear Cut
Press, 268 pages, $12.95)
Book as object: it is a wondrous thing to hold, simple and
elegant, compact and durable, with a built-in bookmark and a playful dust
jacket – a tactile pleasure, rare in the book-as-commodity world. Book as
subject: it is a pleasure to read, vivid and comic, subtle and sexy, the dozen
stories bleeding fluidly from fact into fiction and back – articulate
intellectualism and easy entertainment. “Workload” revels in pornography. “Miss
American Pie” is a runaway girl and her goth lover finding refuge with a gay
uncle. “Batlike, Wolflike (A Memoir)” is an unsettling fantasy of commitment
and obsession. “Denny Smith” dumps the narrator in a sidewalk café… art wrung
from life? “The Purple Men” and "Purple Men 2000” are the sad arc of AIDS
contaminating life and love. This is Gluck’s first collection in a decade or
so, some of the stories from anthologies like Queer 13 and Best New
American Gay Fiction, but many from lustrous journals with intense but
limited readership. How splendid that they are collected here, so well.
Clear Cut Press books are available by subscription; for
information on how it works: http://www.clearcutpress.com/
A review: http://www.raintaxi.com/online/2004spring/gluck.shtml
Gluck discusses the late Bruce Boone, and New Narrative writing:
A lucid audio interview with the editor (Matthew Stadler) and the
publisher (Richard Jensen) of Clear Cut Press: http://www.dailyastorian.com/movie/clearcut.html
Bit of a Stadler (Landscape: Memory, Allan Stein, The Sex
Offender, The Dissolution of Nicholas Dee) bio:
Apathy is a Dangerous Drug: A Collection of Verse and
Prose, by Bill Brent (42 pages)
There may be no copies available by now of this elegant chapbook,
produced back in June by Bill. He was (and, in a sense, still is) the publisher
of Black Books (one of the presses eviscerated financially by the implosion of
its distributor a couple of years ago). Without the press as an outlet for his
passion for words, he went back to his roots - the 'zine. Though in this case,
the 'zine as a work of homegrown art, as "the joyous pang of inspired
living," and as recovery from that drug of apathy. The first poem, written
in 1977, is "meditation at 16" - innocent, overeager, and wise. The
last entry, undated, is "Why I Write": Therapy, schmerapy/ I'll tough
it out for clarity/ and maybe for posterity." Hmm. Maybe this wee book
isn't recovery from that drug - but it does read, quite exuberantly, that way.
Also included: a page of aphorisms, a parody of craigslist.com sex come-on
rip-offs; "40 reasons you don't want to marry me"; thoughts "on
truth." Plenty of poems. A sharp wit. A quick mind. Personality. In a
recent monthly newsletter, Bill said he was working on a second limited-edition
chapbook, This Is
Only A Test, (like the first, only 100 copies, many of them given away), due in November. Contact him at email@example.com - or send
him $5-$15 using PayPal, www.paypal.com
Books I Haven't Read/Books Others Have Read
Women I Have Dressed and Undressed, by
Arnold Scassi (Scribner) - "A dishy recollection of his experiences
gussying up some of the most glamorous women on the planet, from Sophia Loren
and Elizabeth Taylor to, well, Mamie Eisenhower and Barbara Bush," says
Armand Limnander of this book about a Jewish kid from Montreal growing up to
become an "iconic New York couturier."
Scassi and friends party with Malcolm Forbes, 1989:
Scassi and friends celebrate his book, 2004:
Playwright, poet, filmmaker, director, novelist, and literary
provocateur Sky Gilbert is one of several Canadian writers asked in Quill
& Quire, a Canadian publishing journal, to cite "overrated"
and "underrated" writers. His overrated pick: John Irving, dismissed
as a "macho, surrealist American... You just don't believe it for one
moment, it's so crazy and so wacky." Underrated? Lunch Poems,
by Frank O'Hara: "He's probably not that well known because of the gay
content in his work, but he's one of the greatest poets of the 20th
century." Gilbert is author of four novels, including Guilty and,
most recently, An English Gentleman, as well as the engagingly
narcissistic memoir, Ejaculations from the Charm Factory.
Also from Quill & Quire: The first novel by Toronto
writer Robert McGill, The Mysteries, is touted as "an
unforgettable tour through the soul of a small Ontario town, in which a pair of
lesbian lovers come across as the closest thing to well-adjusted - at least
compared with the pedophiles, racists, adulterers, and confused dentists who
are their neighbours."
How queer is this: all three respondents in a recent "Night
Table Reading" feature in Vanity Fair pick gay-interest books.
Artist Hope Atherton says she's reading Against Nature, by J.K.
Huysmans (Oxford): "It's hard not to enjoy a book referred to as the Bible
of the Decadents." Fashion designer Peter Som is reading Middlesex,
by Jeffrey Eugenides (Picador): "This book has an epic scale that frames a
very personal story. Anyone who ever felt they didn't fit in growing up would
be able to relate." Photographer Jim Marshall (Proof, from
Chronicle Books) is reading The Razor's Edge, by W. Somerset
Maugham (Vintage): To me this is probably the most important novel ever
I spotted an ad for Seymour Kleinberg's 2002 memoir The
Fugitive Self (Xlibris) in recent issues of The New York Review of
Books - a book that may well have been reviewed somewhere, though I haven't
read any commentary, and a book that may even be on bookstore shelves - but I
haven't found it listed in online catalogues except as a special order...the
fate of self-published books. It comes with high praise from several notables, however,
including Philip Lopate ("the Sonia chapter is maybe the best thing ever
written about the relationship between a gay man and a straight woman");
Toby Olson ("...an important piece of gay history"); and Craig
Seligman ("a reminder that gay liberation got going long before
And, at more length:
“When the author of Alienated
Affections announced his memoir, I was certain that such a study, by such an
author, would be a revision of those inner voices, the intimate relations
(between son and mother, between brother and sister, between lovers and
friends) which are so uncertain and indeed so unexplored by gay men in our
culture. Yet what Seymour Kleinberg proposes, so tenderly and so tellingly, in
The Fugitive Self, is not just a revision but, in the historical and religious
sense, a reformation of these likelihoods and limitations, which in his case,
so surprisingly comprehend the erotics of parenting. In his case, of course,
for his book is a true memoir; but it is also a trial map -
of a territory
accessible to more of us than we ever knew, of a consciousness made free to
others. For in Schiller’s beautiful phrase, one freedom liberates us all,”
says Richard Howard.
“This memoir is a
profoundly intelligent evocation of the split in one man’s life between the
sensual and the tender: beautifully written, deeply felt,” says Vivian
candid, wise memoir takes us on a dramatic journey through the minefield of
isolation, sex, guilt, shame, and finally, love. Seymour Kleinberg’s lucid and
unsparing devotion to truth turns one gay man’s quest into the universal
struggle of every fugitive self. And its ending is dazzling, as fulfillment
comes from the most unexpected, yet inevitable source,” says Lynne Sharon
Those are blurbs that make me want to read the book - it's a pity
that Xlibris (for the most part, print-on-demand) titles are hard to find on
bookstore shelves... And that Kleinberg had to publish the memoir himself.
To order (but try your
local bookstore first):
Mikel Wadewitz writes about discovering Alienated Affections
as a 15-year-old: http://www.echonyc.com/~stone/Contents/Edit4.html
Queers in Other Cultures x 2
The Quince Seed Potion, by
Morteza Baharloo (Bridge Works Publishing, 256 pages, $23.95 hardcover)
In 1928, a 6-year-old peasant boy is brutally raped by his callous
uncle. That same year he becomes the indentured servant to the dashing,
self-indulgent youngest son of Iran’s Shirlu Khan family – a master he will
silently lust after and love deeply for the next 50 years. That turbulent
personal passion is one dimension of Iranian expatriate Baharloo's epic first
novel set against the backdrop of historical events. Another is how The
Quince Seed Potion tracks the relentless, inevitable decline of the Shirlu
dynasty, immensely wealthy Iranian rural landowners as the story begins but
reduced to humiliating poverty and self-exile by the time of the fundamentalist
revolution in 1979. Their loss of power and status is an absorbing history
lesson about the transformation of a feudalistic society into first a secular
if corrupt oligarchy, and then into a maelstrom of Islamic fanaticism. But the
poignant core of this haunting story is servant Sarveali's sadly unarticulated
and unrequited love for his master, a relationship denied by both immutable
class strictures and Sarveali’s homoerotic self-denial.
My Tender Matador, by Pedro Lemebel
(Grove Press, 170 pages, $20 hardcover)
It helps to know something
of recent Chilean history in order to truly appreciate My Tender Matador.
So, briefly: in 1973 a U.S.-backed military coup assassinated Salvador Allende,
the democratically elected socialist president; army general Augusto Pinochet
reigned as a ruthless dictator until 1990; and in 1986, student-led resistance
fighters nearly succeeded in killing Pinochet by bombing his motorcade. That
sociopolitical context powers this mesmerizing novel - which, audaciously, is
also a lyrical love story. The "Queen of the Corner" is a hopelessly
romantic homosexual who ekes out a living embroidering linens for the wealthy
wives of the ruling military elite, and Carlos is a muscular young heterosexual
who befriends the aging maricon in order to stash munitions in his house.
Lemebel's lush, delicate depiction of an unlikely relationship between the
lonely drag queen and the impassioned revolutionary is by turns comic, tragic,
and exquisite. His stirring evocation of political repression and youthful
rebellion is riveting. And his depiction of dictator Pinochet as a preening,
self-absorbed homophobe – rather daring, as Pinochet is still alive – is
Little Sisters likes the book:
A (PDF download) exploration of Lemebel’s gay thinking:
Quality Queer Theory x 2
Porn Studies, ed. by Linda Williams (Duke
University Press, 528 pages, $24.95 paper)
Porn is defined broadly in this unabashed academic collection. One
essay explains "How To Do Things With The Starr Report;"
another explores suburban sex, home movies, and in particular the notorious
Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee honeymoon video; and another tells why the buxom
girlie pinups of World War II were "An American Secret Weapon." More
queer-specific essays discuss the history of dyke pornography ("What Do
You Call a Lesbian With Long Fingers?"); the career of gay Asian-American
porn star Brandon Lee; the pornographic avant-garde elements of Andy Warhol's
seldom-seen film Blow Job; and how the classic straight stag film was
often a point of "homosociality" for gay men, allowing them to be
sexual in a nongay context. Pretty much every aspect of porn is discussed -
except 19th-century naughty postcards - up to and including the Internet. No
time is wasted on whether there is "good" erotica and "bad”
porn. Williams' bold thesis is that porn exists, has value, and deserves to be
both studied and taught.
Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children, ed.
by Steven Bruhm and Natasha Hurley (University of Minnesota Press, 338 pages,
With its conflation of
"queerness" and "children," odds are this sober collection
of essays assessing sexual childhood energies will become a flashpoint for
hysterics who equate homosexuals with pedophiles. Odds also are that those same
critics won't actually read the essays in Curiouser, none of which
advocate child sex. The contributors do acknowledge that children are sexual
beings - thereby challenging the dominant narrative of American culture, which
is that kids are (or darn well ought to be) asexual until they reach a magic
age of majority. That nonsexual assumption is contradicted by a wide range of
cultural markers, several of which are discussed here: the novels of Horatio
Alger, Djuna Barnes, and Guy Davenport; the heroin-chic underwear ads of Calvin
Klein; girlish giggling under the covers at Girl Scout camp; punk tomboy
attitude; even the repressed frenzy of religious fundamentalism. The analytic
cant, references to Freud, and academic footnoting are at times daunting, but essays
by Judith Halberstam, Richard D. Mohr, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Michael
Warner - on his religious roots - are among the most engaging.
Pop Culture x 2 (-1)
The Drag Queen Anthology: The Absolutely Fabulous But
Flawlessly Customary World of Female Impersonators, ed.
by Steven B. Schacht with Lisa Underwood (Harrington Park Press, 251 pages,
You can't always judge a book by its cover. You certainly
shouldn't judge a book by its title. And this book’s provocative title screams
camp. In truth, however, the anthology is a serious overview of the world of
drag queens and female impersonators. There are playful moments: in
"Chicks with Dicks," Verta Taylor and Leila J. Rupp capture the
over-the-top personalities of performers at the 801 Cabaret in Key West; in
"Let the Drag Race Begin," Steven J. Hopkins is engagingly anecdotal
and anthropological about the drag queen scene in Roanoke, Va. But most of the
heavily footnoted and relentlessly well-sourced essays skew scholarly - more Journal
of Homosexuality, where, in fact, they first appeared, than Instinct. That
said, several pieces, stodgy prose aside, are fascinating: Jeffrey Q. McCune on
the intersection of drag queens and gospel songs, Laurel Halladay on the drag
queen performance troupes that entertained the Canadian military in World War
II, and Sandip Bakshi on the overlapping worlds of India's Hijras and America's
One More Kiss: The Broadway Musical in the 1970s, by
Ethan Mordden (Palgrave MacMillan, 264 pages, $16.95 paper)
It's really too bad this tangy analysis of a decade of Broadway
musicals doesn't come with a play-along CD. Sure, even a superficial show-tune
queen can hum along to Mordden's trenchant dissections of Chicago, Annie,
or Evita. But, really: who knows the songs from Dude, Via
Galactica, or Look to the Lilies - all '70s musicals that bombed.
Only an obsessive, that's who, and that certainly includes the author of One
More Kiss. In four previous books, Mordden has honored, revered, and
savaged Broadway musicals, one decade at a time, from Make Believe, his
history of the 1920s, to this erudite, bitchy, and bittersweet tome about the
1970s (a last book, assessing the '30s, is forthcoming). Why bittersweet?
Because, argues Mordden, the decade under discussion marked the end of
"the golden age of Broadway musicals." His very opinionated queer
perceptions embrace lead players, chorus boys, directors, producers, backers,
lyricists – everyone! – as well as several hundred tunes. Even when he's mean,
his adoration of musicals illuminates this intelligent treasure trove of
An interview: http://www.parterre.com/mordden.htm
I'll Cover You in $20 Bills: The Male Body Beauty
Business, by Michael Rivers (Southern Tier Editions, 165
pages, $14.95 paper)
This is the (-1) title: a worthy subject subverted by
undisciplined scholarship. Friends and friends of friends make up a good number
of the interview subjects in this survey-lite assessment of the
"ideal" male image, so the sample is certainly suspect. And Rivers is
no master of either the well-turned phrase or the startling insight, so there's
neither much entertainment value nor a profound learning experience in I'll
Cover You in $20 Bills. The 17 interviews are at best perfunctory,
following a rigid format and a stilted script. The usual suspects are rounded
up: "Image Makers" include a personal trainer, a male-nude
photographer, a talent scout (for strip clubs!), and an adult-film director;
"Performers" include two bodybuilders, a model, two female
impersonators, two male escorts, and a porn star. Only two interviews go much
beyond shallow – or in the case of one of the male escorts, the spectacularly narcissistic.
The first is with a straight plastic surgeon, who is quite sensible about why a
nip and tuck might transcend vanity; the other is with a professional masseur
who comes across as quite a complex, fascinating character.
Read an excerpt (PDF download): http://www.haworthpress.com/store/product.asp?sku=5102
Cosy Reads x 2
Looking For It, by Michael Thomas Ford
(Kensington Books, 312 pages, $23 hardcover)
One hunky bartender, Mike. One aging queen, Simon. One unhappy gay
couple, John and Russell. One conflicted priest, Thomas. One unattached queer,
Greg. One closeted accountant, Stephen. All living in one small town, with one
gay bar, their lives overlapping by choice and by chance. That's the cozy
premise of Ford's adept second novel. Its serious mien - two are bashed by a
self-loathing gay mechanic, the couple bore each other after seven years
together, the older man mourns his lover of decades - may surprise readers who
come to the book through the author's four previous caustic and hilarious essay
collections. They ought not be disappointed. Looking For It is a
warmhearted story about the importance of friendship and the miracle of
connection. By book's end, John and Russell reignite their passion and
everybody else is paired up – even the over-60 "widow" of the
group, Simon, finds a new man in town to love. Pat, yes, and very predictable –
but Ford’s fluid prose and strong storytelling deliver charming credibility.
Author website: http://www.michaelthomasford.com/
The Ordinary, by Jim Grimsley (Tor Books,
368 pages, $24.95 hardcover)
In the queer universe, Grimsley writes literary gay novels - among
them, Boulevard, about a young man's homosexual adventures in New
Orleans, and Comfort and Joy, about a grown man coming out to his
parents. In an alternate universe of words, he writes entrancing SF/fantasy
novels - Kirith Kirin, and now The Ordinary, a textured blend of
audacious science and imaginative magic that is not quite a sequel to the first
novel, though it shares its characters and worlds. The plot: the Twil Gate, a
portal of unexplained origins, links two planets - Senal, a tech-savvy land
bursting with a population of 30 billion, where natural resources are scarce;
and Irion, a sparsely populated land rich in wood and water, where wizards once
ruled. When the armies of Senal invade Irion, massive military might meets the
mysterious powers of magic and myth. This is a mind-stretching epic true to
classic SF style, infused by Grimsley with vivid characters - including two
women whose passion, spanning thousands of years, combines the author’s two
literary universes with extraordinary harmony.
Author website: http://literati.net/Grimsley/
Subjectively Speaking, The Best Book of the Month
I Do/I Don't: Queers on Marriage, ed.
by Greg Wharton and Ian Philips (Suspect Thoughts Press, 384 pages, $16.95
With 132 contributors, from Allison (Dorothy) to Wolfson (Evan),
this collection of romantic fiction, goopy poetry, intense rants, dry legal
defenses, witty wedding-day memoirs, and deeply personal vows takes a gander at
queers and marriage from every possible perspective. This is good: for all the
giddy hoopla and happy tears of individual ceremonies, an anthology honest
enough to explore many sides of an issue that does indeed divide queers is
overdue - and certainly a standout from the current deluge of wedding books. On
the “I Don't” side, Cheryl Clarke declares, unambiguously, "Marriage
trivializes our partnerships." On the “I Do” side, Jim Gladstone writes:
"Every wedding is an exquisitely awkward marriage of idealism and
acceptance... which in and of itself is a case for same-sex couples, isn’t
it?" And Christopher Bram straddles the middle ground with grace and
eloquence: he and his partner of 25 years have no desire to wed, but what he
loves "about gay marriage, without reservation, is how the very idea of it
infuriates Christian conservatives."
Ian Philip's Mary Daleyesque foreword/forewarning:
One "I Do" http://www.suspectthoughts.com/reed.html
One "I Don't": http://www.suspectthoughts.com/queen2.html
One "I Differ": http://www.suspectthoughts.com/swayne.html
A History Book To Watch Out For
Academic Lillian Faderman and journalist Stuart Timmons are
collaborating on Gay L.A., the first book-length history of the gay
culture that took root on the Western frontier in the mid-19th century and
evolved with the growth of the film industry.
"Due to the relatively large amount of gay memoir and
Hollywood queer scholarship, there is a vast amount now to assess for such an
account," says Timmons. "We feel that, indeed, Los Angeles remains
oddly missing in action for a careful historical treatment."
It is indeed a long-overdue
history, and puzzlingly so: New York was historicized by George Chauncey's 1994
book Gay New York and Charles Kaiser's 1997 book The Gay Metropolis.
Gary Atkins published Gay Seattle: Stories of Exile and Belonging
(University of Washington Press) in 2003. Gay By the Bay: A History of Queer
Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area, by Susan Stryker and Jim Van Buskirk
(Chronicle Books, 1996), took a lightheartedly scholarly look at San Francisco;
Winston Leyland's Out in the Castro: Desire, Promise, Activism (Leyland
Publications, 2002) focused on the history of SF's queerest neighborhood. And
Marc Stein's 2003 book, City of Sisterly and Brotherly Loves, is a
history of Philadelphia from 1945 to 1972.
All of these are pretty accessible books, more populist history
than heavy-slog scholarship. There is a book about gay Los Angeles - Moira
Kenney's Mapping Gay L.A.: The Intersection of Place and Politics
(Temple University Press, 2001) - but it's more queer theory than a gay
history, and it only reaches back to the late 1960s; Out for Good: The
Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America (Simon & Schuster,
1999), by Dudley Clendenin and Adam Nagourney, has a fair bit of L.A. history -
but it's more national in scope.
Faderman is the author of Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers and
Surpassing the Love of Men, and, most recently, of the Lambda
Award-winning memoir Naked in the Promised Land. Timmons, former
executive director of L.A.'s ONE Institute, is the author of The Trouble
With Harry Hay, a 1990 biography of the founder of the Mattachine Society.
Publication is scheduled for Spring 2006, from Basic Books.
Timmons on Harry Hay:
Faderman on her first encounter with the June L. Mazer Lesbian
15 Other BTWOFs
LAUD HUMPHREYS: Prophet of Homosexuality and Sociology, ed. by
John Galliher, David Patrick Keys, and Wayne Brekhus, profiles the pioneering
sociologist, Episcopal priest, and gay activist, best known for his provocative
study of washroom sex, Tearoom Trade (University of Wisconsin, $18.95, Oct)...
WHY I HATE Abercrombie & Fitch: Essays on Race and
Sexuality, by Dwight A. McBride (possibly the best title of the
season) tackles subjects from black gay media representations to racist ad
campaigns. (NYU Press, $19, Feb)...
THE VELVET RAGE: What It Really Means to Grow Up Gay in a
Straight Man's World, a book by psychologist Alan Downs that looks at the
connections between shame and success and shame and creativity in gay men,
coming from Da Capo Lifelong Books in Spring
BOTH SIDES NOW, by Dillon Kosla, about the
transsexual journey from female to male of a highly successful attorney - while
maintaining both his dignity and his high profile position within the federal
appeals court system - is another Spring
2005 title, from Tarcher/Putnam...
GAY PRIDE: A Celebration of All Things Gay and Lesbian, by
William J. Mann, cites reasons to live proudly through the example of
well-known figures from Alexander the Great to Ellen DeGeneres (Citadel Books,
NO FUTURE: QUEER Theory and the Death Drive, by Lee
Edelman, disdains the notion that queers should form families - definitely a
controversial proposition in a community that proclaims the "found
family" (Duke University Press, $21.95, Dec)...
HOW TO DO YOUR Own Divorce in California and How
to Solve Divorce Problems in California are new editions of do-it-yourself
guides with updates pertinent to gay and lesbian couples - those Nolo Press
legal eagles are sure on top of a potential new market ($29.95/$19.95, Jan)...
QUEER CONSTELLATIONS: Subcultural Space in the Wake of the
City, by Dianne Chisholm,
juxtaposes thoughts by contemporary queer writers - Neil Bartlett, Samuel
Delany, Robert Gluck, Alan Hollinghurst, Gary Indiana, Eileen Myles, Sarah
Schulman, Edmund White, and David Wojnarowicz - about walking, seeing, and remembering
urban spaces (University of Minnesota, $19.99, Dec)....
THE QUOTABLE QUEER, by Minnie van Pileup,
celebrates the wit and wisdom of a bevy of high-visibility gays, from Rock
Hudson and Liberace to k.d. lang and Ellen DeGeneres, plus…Whitney Houston and
Tom Cruise? (Fair Winds, $9.95, April)...
SOME NIGHT MY PRINCE Will Come, by
Michel Tremblay, the newest novel from one of francophone Canada's most
nationally celebrated writers - who, paradoxically, is also a committed Quebec
separatist - features a narrator intent on losing his virginity in Montreal.
(Talon Books, $13.95, Oct)...
REPRINTS OF TWO of the best books of 2004: Queer Street: Rise
and Fall of an American Culture, 1947-1985, by James McCourt ($17.95, Jan.);
and Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century, by Graham Robb
($15.95, Feb.), both from W.W. Norton...
TANGLED SHEETS: The Erotica of Michael Thomas Ford, by
Michael Thomas Ford, is a first-ever collection of the popular novelist's
stiffy stories - Ford was editor of the first edition of Best Gay Erotica,
back in 1996. (Kensington, $14, Jan)
THE BROKEN GLASS of Night, by
Harlan Greene (Why We Never Danced the Charleston, 1985, and What the
Dead Remember, 1991 - two of the best novels of their decade) is set in the
period before Nazi Germany's Kristallnach (Crystal Night), when Jewish
synagogues and businesses were torched. (Terrace Books/University of Wisconsin,
BEST GAY EROTICA 2005, ed. by Richard
Labonte/selected by William J. Mann, is a swell collection of queer writing:
contributors and their stories this year are - Wake the King Up Right by Mike
Newman; Yang-Qi by Teh-Chen Cheng; Pink Triangle-Shaped Pubes by Alexander
Rowlson; Face Value by Scott Pomfret; Gamblers by Bob Vickery; The Thanks You
Get by Simon Sheppard; Wrestler for Hire by Greg Herren; This Little Piggy by
Jim Gladstone; Kindled by Vowels (An Epistolary Seduction) by Ian Philips &
Greg Wharton; Old Haunts by Jay Neal; The Strange Château of Dr. Kluge by Drew
Gummerson; My Place by Alpha Martial; Get On Your Bikes and Ride! by D. Travers
Scott; excerpt from Voodoo Lust by M. S. Hunter; The Bad Boy’s Club by
Michael Huxley; Derelict by Steve Berman; Surf by Andy Quan; excerpt from My
Name Is Rand by Wayne Courtois; All at Sea with Master E by James Williams;
Doll Boy by Jonathan Asche; Romulus by Bruce Benderson; The Bigg Mitkowski by
Davem Verne (Cleis Press, $14.95, Nov).
Anne Rice Bites Back
Is Anne Rice as iconic a writer for young gay men in 2004 as she
was in 1984 and perhaps even in 1994 - before Tom Cruise sullied the fantasy
image we all had of Lestat de Lioncourt? I bet not. (If I'm wrong, let me
I crossed paths with her several times in my bookseller days - she
never did a signing for A Different Light, but she did come by several times to
sign stacks of books, most notably one day in, I think, 1991; the comfy town
car driving her around Los Angeles pulled up outside A Different Light
Bookstore in West Hollywood the same afternoon that we were hosting another
book-signing. She could have driven on; she could have swept in, done a diva
turn, and stolen the spotlight; instead, she sat in the back seat of the car
and - using her knees for support - signed dozens of copies of The Witching
Hour and dozens more of her assorted backlist - even personalizing copies
for customers who came out to say hello.
That attention to her fans – including her gay fans – is why the
imbroglio involving Rice and some virulent (and mostly anonymous)
"reviews" on amazon.com interests me: if you haven't picked up on the
fuss, here's what's up...
Anne Rice was miffed at the tone of hundreds of amazon.com reviews
of her last Vampire Lestat book, Blood Canticle (the hardcover was
published a year ago, the mass market edition was released this August): http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/11/books/11rice.html?oref=login&8bu
Many of the reader "reviews" of the book are a
fascinating bath of bile:
And, in case it's bumped again from amazon.com, here's the text of
Rice's fiercely frank response to the reviews, both a mesmerizing display of
pique and pride on the author's part, and a raw example of the perverse way
some readers personalize their non-existent relationships with authors:
Seldom do I really answer those who criticize my work. In fact, the
entire development of my career has been fueled by my ability to ignore
denigrating and trivializing criticism as I realize my dreams and my goals.
However there is something compelling about Amazon's willingness to
publish just about anything, and the sheer outrageous stupidity of many things
you've said here that actually touches my proletarian and Democratic soul. Also
I use and enjoy Amazon and I do read the reviews of other people's books in
many fields. In sum, I believe in what happens here.
And so, I speak. First off, let me say that this is addressed only to
some of you, who have posted outrageously negative comments here, and not to
all. You are interrogating this text from the wrong perspective. Indeed, you
aren't even reading it. You are projecting your own limitations on it. And you
are giving a whole new meaning to the words "wide readership." And
you have strained my Dickensian principles to the max.
I'm justifiably proud of being read by intellectual giants and
waitresses in trailer parks, in fact, I love it, but who in the world are you?
Now to the book. Allow me to point out: nowhere in this text are you
told that this is the last of the chronicles, nowhere are you promised curtain
calls or a finale, nowhere are you told there will be a wrap-up of all the
earlier material. The text tells you exactly what to expect. And it warns you
specifically that if you did not enjoy Memnoch the
Devil, you may not enjoy this book.
This book is by and about a hero whom many of you have already rejected.
And he tells you that you are likely to reject him again. And this book is most
certainly written - every word of it - by me. If and when I can't write a
book on my own, you'll know about it.
And no, I have no intention of allowing any editor ever to distort, cut,
or otherwise mutilate sentences that I have edited and re-edited, and organized
and polished myself. I fought a great battle to achieve a status where I did
not have to put up with editors making demands on me, and I will never
relinquish that status. For me, novel writing is a virtuoso performance. It is
not a collaborative art.
Back to the novel itself: the character who tells the tale is my Lestat.
I was with him more closely than I have ever been in this novel; his voice was
as powerful for me as I've ever heard it. I experienced break through after
break through as I walked with him, moved with him, saw through his eyes. What
I ask of Lestat, Lestat unfailingly gives. For me, three hunting scenes, two
which take place in hotels - the lone woman waiting for the hit man, the
slaughter at the pimp's party - and the late night foray into the slums -
stand with any similar scenes in all of the chronicles. They can be read aloud
without a single hitch. Every word is in perfect place.
The short chapter in which Lestat describes his love for Rowan Mayfair
was for me a totally realized poem. There are other such scenes in this book.
You don't get all this? Fine. But I experienced an intimacy with the character
in those scenes that shattered all prior restraints, and when one is writing
one does have to continuously and courageously fight a destructive tendency to
inhibition and restraint. Getting really close to the subject matter is the
achievement of only great art.
Now, if it doesn't appeal to you, fine. You don't enjoy it? Read
somebody else. But your stupid arrogant assumptions about me and what I am
doing are slander. And you have used this site as if it were a public urinal to
publish falsehood and lies. I'll never challenge your democratic freedom to do
so, and yes, I'm answering you, but for what it's worth, be assured of the utter
contempt I feel for you, especially those of you who post anonymously (and
perhaps repeatedly?) and how glad I am that this book is the last one in a
series that has invited your hateful and ugly responses.
Now, to return to the narrative in question: Lestat's wanting to be a
saint is a vision larded through and through with his characteristic vanity. It
connects perfectly with his earlier ambitions to be an actor in Paris, a rock
star in the modern age. If you can't see that, you aren't reading my work. In
his conversation with the Pope he makes observations on the times which are in
continuity with his observations on the late twentieth century in The Vampire Lestat, and in continuity with Marius' observations
in that book and later in Queen of the Damned.
The state of the world has always been an important theme in the
chronicles. Lestat's comments matter. Every word he speaks is part of the
achievement of this book. That Lestat renounced this saintly ambition within a
matter of pages is plain enough for you to see. That he reverts to his old self
is obvious, and that he intends to complete the tale of Blackwood Farm is also
There are many other themes and patterns in this work that I might
mention - the interplay between St.Juan Diago and Lestat, the invisible
creature who doesn't "exist" in the eyes of the world is a case in
point. There is also the theme of the snare of Blackwood Farm, the place where
a human existence becomes so beguiling that Lestat relinquishes his power as if
to a spell. The entire relationship between Lestat and Uncle Julien is
carefully worked out. But I leave it to readers to discover how this complex
and intricate novel establishes itself within a unique, if not unrivalled
series of book.
There are things to be said. And there is pleasure to be had. And
readers will say wonderful things about Blood Canticle and they already are.
There are readers out there and plenty of them who cherish the individuality of
each of the chronicles, which you so flippantly condemn. They can and do talk
circles around you. And I am warmed by their response. Their letters, the
papers they write in school, our face-to-face exchanges on the road - these
things sustain me when I read the utter trash that you post.
But I feel I have said enough. If this reaches one reader who is curious
about my work and shocked by the ugly reviews here, I've served my goals.
And Yo, you dude, the slang police! Lestat talks like I do. He always
has and he always will. You really wouldn't much like being around either one
of us. And you don't have to be.
If any of you want to say anything about all this by all means Email me
at Anneobrienrice@mac.com. And if you want your money back for the book, send
it to 1239 First Street, New Orleans, La, 70130. I'm not a coward about my real
name or where I live. And yes, the Chronicles are no more! Thank God!
By Sept. 26, Rice noted on her website that her original
amazon.com posting had been deleted, along with several hundred reviews; as of
Oct. 17, there were 276 reviews online, (there were 297 the day before, so it
seems amazon.com is deleting some) but at least one person had reposted Rice's
response. In the same message, Rice also said she'd given up responding to
emails to her mac.com address, though she was still honoring her pledge to
refund money to unhappy buyers (no numbers cited) - and that she was sending
copies returned to her to U.S. troops overseas. "I'm going back to
work," she wrote. "I've enjoyed your letters. As I said, I'm grateful
for them. And the whole experience has been amazing. I leave it with the hope
that the Amazon site is going through some sort of natural development with
regard to its purpose and freedom for positive and negative anonymous reviews.
I leave it with the hope that the site will become stronger and better, but how
this is to be worked out, I know not."
Author website: www.annerice.com
Cruising the Internet with Heim, Leroy, and Henry James
Scott Heim is really, really happy with Gregg Araki's film based
on his novel Mysterious Skin (Sept. 18 entry):
JT LeRoy talks about the queer fear of sexual ambiguity, and about
his new graphic novel, How Loathsome, collecting the first four issues
of the gender-straddling comic Loathsome:
Marc Acito (How I Paid for College...) is part of the First
Author tour written up here (though the focus is on a local author; more
stories are sure to follow):
The Southern Voice touches on the PayPal
denial of service to a growing number of queer gay web sites:
Steven Schreibman writes about the odyssey from finishing his
novel, Blood in My Hairspray, in 1994 to getting it published in 2002 -
and reflects that his payback isn't in the money:
"Two meteor movies in one year" is one thing, comments Slate;
but two novels about Henry James? Six months after Colm Toibin's The Master,
Stephen Metcalf discusses David Lodge's Author, Author (with references
to Emma Tenant's Felony and Allan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty):
In the Village Voice, Benjamin Strong calls The Line of
Beauty "a beautiful novel about ugly people":
And Phyllis Fong appreciates The Selected letters of James
Schuyler, edited by William Corbett - letters that are, she remarks,
"happily... often petty":
The most frequently challenged book of 2004, according to this
story about Banned Books Week? King and King, by Linda de Haan and Stern
Nijland, the story of a royal couple on their honeymoon - a gay couple; its
sequel, King and King & Family, about the two men's desire to adopt,
was a top Book Sense pick:
Kinsey, the man who made us 10 per cent of the population, is at
the center of a new book by T.C. Boyle and a new movie by Bill Condon: http://www.timesstar.com/Stories/0,1413,125~1549~2474161,00.html
Some Bits 'O News
Hollinghurst’s the Man (Booker)
British novelist Alan Hollinghurst beat the bookies' odds Oct. 18
to win the Man Booker prize for his novel The Line of Beauty, a thematic
sequel to his 1987 debut, The Swimming-Pool Library. Most U.K. critics
had predicted a win for David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas; and The Master,
Colm Toibin’s novel about Henry James, was also a contender for the prestigious
A pre-prize interview:
And, from an insider’s account, Economist literary editor Fiammetta Rocco writes about the experience of serving as a Booker judge:
"The final meeting, in a zebra-striped London hotel room, lasted nearly three hours. Mr. Hollinghurst's coolly elegant skewering of Thatcherite London was pitted against Mr. Toibin's quietly enthralling study of regret and the convoluted workings of human remembering, and both books faced the thrilling pyrotechnics of the young Mr. Mitchell in Cloud Atlas. There was no clear winner, even after five rounds of voting. Ultimately, Mr. Hollinghurst drew ahead only by the finest of whiskers when the chairman, Chris Smith, a master of political shepherding, proposed that the only vote for Mr. Toibin be transferred to that judge's second choice."
Badpuppy publisher William Pinyon writes: "We are pleased to
announce that we have had a few options present themselves that will result in
a rebirth of Gay Today. Depending on which option we choose there is one thing
that I must let you know. The format of Gay Today will have to change; however,
we will be keeping the complete archives online dating back to our first
article on February 3, 1997 by Jack Nichols. Please check back with us soon. We
currently anticipate a re-launch date of Nov. 8; however, site renovations may
begin occurring in the next week and you will be able to preview the up and
coming New Gay Today."
Lambda Literary Vox Populi
The Lambda Literary Foundation has opened a Lammy Awards
Suggestion Box on its website, soliciting recommendations for nominees for
the 2004 Lambda Literary Awards - and then posting the list of books "so
that readers can follow along and see if their favorite title has been
suggested," says LLF executive director Jim Marks.
In a sense, this new suggestion box hearkens back to the early
years of the awards, when there was no fee assessed for nominations, and any
reader could submit books for consideration. Now anyone can suggest a title,
but books must then be officially nominated – with the nominations accompanied
by a processing fee.
More formally: The Lambda Literary Awards are selected using a
three-tiered process - first, books are nominated by a publisher or other
authorized agents, who pay a $20 fee per title. Then, an ad hoc Finalist
Committee selects five finalists in each category. Finally, panels of judges in
each category select the Award recipients. The Awards will be presented in New
York City on June 2, 2005.
"Books suggested should, if possible, include contact
information for the book’s publisher; this will enable us to contact all
publishers to give them an opportunity to nominate their titles," says
In addition, there are two new categories this year: Gay Men’s
Debut Fiction and Lesbian Debut Fiction, each with a $1,000 prize.
Self-published titles are not eligible for the Debut Fiction prizes.
To suggest titles:
A different deadline:
Billy Merrell writes with news of the Queerthology
publishing project, mentioned in Books To Watch Out For/Gay Men's Edition 9:
"The Bad News: Very Important: Due to highly irritating and unfortunate
circumstances, we need anyone who submitted electronically before Oct. 12 to
submit again to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Good News: The deadline for
submissions has been extended to Dec. 15. Please pass this important
information on to whoever you know."
Le dernier chance Texaco:
French rights to Brent Hartinger's second YA novel, The Last
Chance Texaco, have been sold to Pocket Jeunesse; with a mix of queer and
straight characters, the book is about kids at a "last chance" group
home whose detective work exposes the vandal who is trying to get the facility
shut down. Hartinger's sequel to the best-selling The Geography Club - The
Order of the Poison Oak - is coming in February 2005 from HarperTempest.
Author's website: http://www.brenthartinger.com
The new book's first chapter: http://www.brenthartinger.com/firstchappoak.html
Bestsellers and Popular Titles from Down Under
The Bookshop Darlinghurst:
Bestsellers of interest to gay men*
1. The Line of Beauty, by Alan Hollinghurst
2. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, by David
3. French Letter, by Bruno Bouchet - Peter’s father
vanished 25 years ago. But then a letter arrives from him, urging Peter and his
gay brother, Didier, to visit him in France to find out about their past.
Arriving in Marseille, the brothers are plunged into the bizarre world of their
father and his Greek wife, Kiki, who have embarked on a bizarre scheme
involving such culinary delights as Lavender Moussaka, Fetta Fondue and a
throat-ripping ouzo made from cheap brandy and aniseed balls.
4. Last Summer, by Michael Thomas Ford
5. Dry, by Augusten Burroughs
*Four of the five titles on the online Bookshop Darlinghurst
bestseller list have popped onto bestsellers lists at most American bookstores,
including Lambda Rising, Outwrite, and The Open Book; the third-ranked book,
however, is published by Hodder Headline Australia: here's a link to the book's
Bookshop Darlinghurst also lists a number of
"Australian" titles (the first four are "new" in 2004),
many of them unavailable in the U.S. I've included the bookstore's synopses
(somewhat edited) for the more interesting titles - about half of the books
you'll find by following the link:
Fly By Night, by Narrelle M. Harris - Successful
musician Frank Capriano returns home to Perth for his mentor's funeral, along
with his band-mate and lover Milo. Frank's old friends are having money
troubles and are trying to make ends meet through smuggling. But that turns
out to be only the tip of the iceberg - soon they have a murder to contend
Homosapien: A Fantasy About Pro Wrestling, by
Julie Bozza - It's hard to explain the attraction of opposites - especially
when one is a bookshop worker, intellectual, and gay rights activist, and the
other is a professional wrestler struggling to build his career in that macho
industry while burdened by a gay persona.
I Am What I Am, by John Marsden - Long active in
the areas of civil liberties, gay law reform and police integrity, John Marsden
was a well-connected Sydney solicitor with friends in high places when he was
very publicly brought down by allegations of pedophilia made against him in
state parliament. What followed turned into the longest, the most expensive,
and perhaps the most unsavory defamation trial Australia has ever seen: a
nine-year nightmare that took John Marsden to the brink and beyond.
Twilight of Love: Travels with Turgenev, by
Robert Dessaix - For 40 years Turgenev was passionately devoted to Pauline
Viardot, a singer, and he followed her and her husband around Europe. Yet it
seems their relationship was chaste - both had affairs with other people - and
at various times Turgenev lived amicably as part of the Viardot household.
Robert Dessaix has had his own 40-year relationship with Turgenev and his work - as a student, tutor and now old friend. This is a truly remarkable work of
memoir, literary biography, and travel writing.
And So Forth, by Robert Dessaix - A selection of
this highly esteemed writer and critic's essays, short fiction and journalism
from the last decade. His subjects are various and include gay fiction,
Aboriginal spirituality, the suburban family, and the nature of creativity.
Barbwire Entanglements, by P.V. Goode - As a
23-year-old Australian serving with the RAF in WWII, Phil Braddock survived
being shot down over Germany. During long months as a prisoner of war, he became
intimately involved with an American in the same camp. Thirty years later,
Braddock reluctantly agrees to organize a get-together of fellow prisoners -
and is forced to confront memories of his wartime affair.
Confessing a Murder, by Nick Drayson - Purporting
to be an anonymous memoir found in an attic, its author is an arrogant but
brilliant homosexual whose life has crossed with that of Darwin with startling
Desirelines, by Peter & Richard Wherrett -
Behind the hype and the sensational headlines of cross-dressing, wife beating,
substance abuse, and homosexuality is a very candid memoir of an extraordinary
suburban Australian family. It works on so many levels: Peter's confession of
his desire to cross-dress, Richard's brilliant historical evocation of Sydney
and especially gay Sydney.
Holding The Man, by Timothy Conigrave - One of the
publishing success stories of 1995 and still one of our bestsellers in 2002, Holding
the Man charts a love affair between schoolboys that weathered disapproval,
separation, and ultimately death. It explores the intimacy, constraints, and
temptations of Conigrave's relationship, while revealing the strength both men
had to find when they tested positive to HIV. A powerful, passionate and moving
book that is essential reading for every gay Australian.
Ian Roberts: Finding Out, by
Paul Freeman - To come out as gay in Australia's strongest bastion of het
machismo - football - is hard to imagine. Ian Roberts did it and has lived to
tell. For the first time in our rough and tumble sporting history we finally
have a gay sports icon but Roberts' sporting career has had more hurdles in its
stead than homosexuality. He has suffered from epilepsy for nearly 20 years. Finding
Out offers an all-Australian perspective on gayness - from the rigors of a
childhood in Maroubra to centerfolds in Blue, Ian Roberts' story is
worth finding out.
Repercussions, by Michael D. Campbell - Young
Byron Crawford flees Australia to Italy after a failed attempt on his life.
Re-establishing a link with his former lover, Byron avails himself of an
opportunity to change his identity. As a result, Ricco Luciani, famous model of
the 90s, emerges and takes the world by storm. He heads Down Under with only
one aim: to exact revenge against his would-be killers.
Rudeboy Train, by David Lennon - A new Australian
gay novel that also happens to be the world's first gay rock 'n' roll novel.
(Gay) sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll - this is a backstage pass to the scenes
behind the gigs! Connery is living his musical dream: playing across the
country, adoring fans, full on partying, record contracts, and chart topping
singles. But things aren't complete as he's also searching for the perfect
Sushi Central, by Alasdair Duncan - Go out. Take
a pill. Meet a boy. Dance. Recover. Repeat. Calvin is sixteen and out of
control. Experienced but naive, he and his friends feel disconnected from their
safe, suburban world of private schools and four-wheel drives. They inhabit a
world of their own design where fun comes by the milligram and fashion is all
that counts. Then Calvin meets Anthony, and the two boys form an obsessive
bond. But as Calvin deals with the confusion of first love, he discovers
pictures of Anthony on a website, and is drawn into a world more adult than he
could have imagined. This is a subversive black comedy about teen angst pushed
to its final, self-destructive extremes.
Vanity Fierce, by Graeme Aitken - From the
best-selling author of Fifty Ways of Saying Fabulous comes the ultimate
comic novel of gay Sydney. Stephen Spear is everyone's golden boy (including
his own). When he falls for Ant (the only gay man he knows who still has chest
hair), he is astounded to find his desire unrequited. But Stephen is determined
to get his man. This is a love story that's big on outrageous schemes, dark
secrets, and firm muscles.
Thanks for that beautiful piece on Donald Allen! It was
bittersweet to read it. He brought a lot of treasures into my world when I was
growing up in Ohio. Back when books were everything to me. Back before
there was even cable TV. Once again, a great issue.
--Marilyn Jaye Lewis
(For news about Lewis' new collection of bisexual erotica, Lust,
from Alyson Books:
And the author's website:
Thanks very much for alerting me to your kind comments about
GayToday and about my Tomcat book. You said a number of things that show how
keen are your insights.
I'm beginning to enjoy having my first real vacation in nearly
eight years. Prior to the present, GayToday required work that had to be done
on a daily basis. When Lige [his deceased partner] and I resigned in 1973 from
the original GAY, I recall thinking how editing is rather like being an
orchestra leader and that it was then high time to play my own instrument -
solo. That's somewhat how I feel now. I could have continued holding a baton,
but it's going to be fun having this new biweekly column to do*.
With two books still for sale in stores I'm also thinking of
revising what I call my "major work," my 1975 book on males (Men's
Liberation). Between 1975 and 1990 it sold almost 100,000 copies, went into
German and Greek with excerpts in Parents' magazine and in textbooks. It needs
If the Bushies are re-elected, I, for one, will no longer allow
myself to self-identify even marginally as a pragmatic anarchist attempting to
compromise and depending on some benighted (if not fixed) national vote to save
us. I'll just be an anarchist celebrating the good old anarchist tradition:
which in my experience means enthusiastically recalling of the themes of
Kropotkin, Bakunan, Goldman, Goodman, Chomsky and my own thoughts on macho-male
--Jack Nichols (The Tomcat Journals)
(*To read Jack Nichols' new column, go to:
I loved the elegy to GayToday. I wrote for GT for several years,
and loved working with Jack. GayToday was outrageous in the most marvelous way,
was totally non-corporatized, and put a bright flashlight onto some areas that
never get covered in the gay press (and certainly not in the straight one). I'm
also glad you reviewed Jack's book. I'm looking forward to reading it.
--Perry Brass (Belhue Press)
Thanks so much for the review - I always get 3-5 subscriptions
when you mention Bloom. Glad you like the second issue - we're at work on #3
already, will let you know the contents soon enough. One small correction
though: we're two issues a year, $16 per year ($10 each issue in bookstores).
Thanks, Richard, for including me as Young, Smart and Thinking
of Cum (always!). Although I preferred the link at the top: Cuming of
age and Cuming out.
--Marc Acito (How I Paid For College)
For 10 installments, BTWOF/GM has expressed a single - though, I
do hope, wide-ranging - voice. I’d like to include other voices – so anyone
who’d like to declaim over a book, vent on a topic, list favorites, recall
writers, or otherwise contribute to forthcoming newsletters… you are invited.
Send submissions or questions to me at email@example.com
Richard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at 613 264 5409, or at 7-A Drummond St W, Perth, ON K7H 2J3 Canada. Books for review, author news, interesting links all appreciated.