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THE SACRED BAND is a tourist’s guide to events that took place between 378 and 338 BCE in the location of today’s Greece, but in fact the time period covered includes explanatory material and connective tissue from somewhat earlier times in a region spanning from Sicily to Persia.

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            Radiant offers a well-researched account of the scientific and creative processes of two driven experimenters who reached worldwide fame. Marie Curie helped inaugurate the atomic age, with unhappy as well as positive consequences. The institute she founded in Paris is now a research center focused on biophysics, cell biology, and oncology, with an affiliated hospital. Fuller’s impact likewise persists.

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Kubrick’s Men doesn’t stoop to psychoanalyzing a director who was far smarter than most of his critics. He simply turns a very keen eye on the photography and the films. As such, this book may be of interest chiefly to Kubrick admirers. But even if Rambuss ends up merely wondering why the homosexuality is there, and even if one hasn’t seen all the movies discussed, this is a real labor of love.

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Center Center fabulously combines playfulness and profundity in telling the story of a talented, driven dancer who pursues life to the fullest and repeatedly asks: “Why Not?”

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Mary Meigs and Barbara Deming shared a preference for an austere life close to nature, and political involvement based on the principle of nonviolence.

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As for [Grant’s] relationship with “Randy Scott,” you’ll have to read Eyman’s sensitive if sometimes dark account of Grant to draw your own conclusions. Eyman provides background on the Hollywood studio system and its many players while sounding the depths of Grant’s emotional turmoil. Randolph Scott’s place in the puzzle of Grant’s emotional life is best discovered by reading this often entertaining but sometimes intentionally confounding life story of one of Hollywood’s great stars.

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            Samuel Delany’s 1974 novel Dhalgren is described as “psychogeographic.” The novel has a distinct, urban location—Bellona—but it is ultimately impossible to decide whether this peripatetic novel takes place in a dystopian U.S. city or in an incarcerated person’s mind. The answer is: both.

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LIBERIAN-BORN Cheryl Dunye grew up in Philadelphia, which is where she began her career as a filmmaker, a term that includes directing, producing, and acting in her films. Her first films were a series of shorts about her experience as a Black lesbian, and they combined documentary and narrative elements in what came to be called “Dunyementaries.”

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THE EPICENTER of gay culture lies in Black gay, same-gender-loving, trans, lesbian, bisexual, and queer language. Black gay and queer vernacular has had a major impact on the larger LGBT+ community. The ability to modify and explore the dynamics of language to enhance our idea of an inclusive culture—one that allows freedom of gender and sexual expression—pierces through the heights of creativity. At the root of this language, now woven through mainstream society, there is a deep and complex history of the Black and queer communities. It comes with a shared legacy of hate, racism, discrimination, and oppression engendered by people who faced systematic attacks for being both Black and queer.

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            Langston Hughes’ name is among the most recognizable in 20th-century American letters. The Harlem Renaissance poet par excellence, Hughes was the writer who brought blues to poetry, the visionary who spoke of knowing “rivers ancient as the world,” the author of the metaphor that gave Lorraine Hansberry’s great play A Raisin in the Sun its name. He toured widely on two continents, was quoted by leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., and lived what seemed to be a very public life. And yet, in a number of crucial respects, Hughes remains a mystery.

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