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LONNEKE GEERLINGS opens her biography of Rosey E. Pool, I Lay This Body Down, by depicting her subject getting off a cattle car destined for Auschwitz. Convincing the authorities that she was a guard who had lost her identifying armband, combined with her fluent German, served to win her a temporary reprieve. In any event, this quick-witted evasion both saved her life and forever marked her with survivor’s guilt.

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Memorial programs were held in both Boston and New York City this past fall to celebrate the life of activist Urvashi Vaid (1958–2022), who passed away last May. Her longtime friend and “co-conspirator” Richard Burns delivered the first of many eulogies at both programs. What follows is based on the Boston speech, which was delivered on September 28th at Northeastern University. A few items have been included from Richard’s remarks in New York (November 3rd).

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MY FIRST GRETA GARBO experience was the 1933 film Queen Christina. From the moment she appeared on the screen, I found myself breathless, overcome by her cinematic presence. I barely paid attention to the story or the other characters; all I saw was Garbo.

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BEST KNOWN for her poetry, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle, 1886 –1961) was also a novelist, memoirist, essayist, translator, and famously the lover of one of the richest women in England, Annie Winifred Ellerman (1894–1983), better known as Bryher. H.D. and Bryher were true lovers for over forty years.

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LESBIAN BARS have not prospered over the years. The Cubbyhole is the last of two lesbian bars in all of New York City. In the 1970s, in the city of Los Angeles alone, there were at least a dozen lesbian bars. And there were scores more across the country. In the 1980s, there were roughly 200 lesbian bars in the U.S. Today there are only 21 left.

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            No words of mine can capture Louise’s art and righteous wrath and vigor. There are few artists among contemporary creatives as impressive, knowledgeable, and capable of making universalizing statements as Louise Fishman. The depth of her compassion and kindness defy description, and I am dumbfounded as I face her body of work and the legacy that she has left us.

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            Mrs. Dalloway is a novel about a woman giving a party. In that spirit, The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway is not a book to be read and then hidden away on a shelf in your study. It belongs on your coffee table so that your friends and even casual acquaintances can enjoy the visuals while you’re in the kitchen making the coffee.

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IRRESISTIBLE REVOLUTION collects nine essays, each an expanded and updated version of a lecture given by author Urvashi Vaid.

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