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BERLIN CABARETS between the wars had their fair share of homosexual headliners (“homosexual” being the period term). Wilhelm Bendow, affectionately known as Lieschen, portrayed a scatterbrained, giggling “nance” whose naïve questions and double entendres provoked hilarity. Claire Waldoff, a regular at the lesbian clubs with her henna-dyed Prince Valiant hairdo and husky voice, sang ofMore
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The House that Hirschfeld Built
The Institute was Europe’s gathering place for sexual minorities, especially trans people. Some of the first to undergo gender reassignment surgery stayed at the Institute.
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John Randolph was first elected to the House in 1798. His androgynous appearance bewildered his contemporaries.
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Truman and His Swans
Capote was sui generis, way ahead of his time as far as being openly gay, and the women he called his swans were right out of an Edith Wharton novel.
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A Painter of Multitudes
I know a good deal more about Stettheimer now thanks to Barbara Bloemink’s new biography of the artist. Bloemink revises the previous profile of Stettheimer as a “cloistered spinster” or an “eccentric maiden aunt.”
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Cruising As an Institution
When this writer traveled to Boulder, Portland, Dallas, and St. Louis in the 1970s, gay men in those towns recognized that what I was doing before meeting them was “cruising,” even though few in their space and time knew how to do so.
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Short Reviews
Brief reviews of Abuela in Shadow, Abel in Light; Places of Tenderness and Heat; House Fire; Queer Nature; Verdant; Dot & Ralfie; and Immoral, Indecent & Scurrilous.
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The Impossible Art ends with a magnificent examination of Mozart’s masterpiece Le nozze di Figaro, which Aucoin deems a work capable of transcending opera’s impossibility, indeed a work that “achieves an aerial view of the human soul.” That chapter, “Music as Forgiveness,” the shortest in the book, left me full of gratitude—to Aucoin for writingMore
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FOR A 19TH-CENTURY author, Oscar Wilde is astonishingly present in today’s culture—far more mentioned and quoted than even a perennial favorite like Mark Twain. This, I believe, is due to a combination of factors.
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The Kingdom of Sand—a smarter reader than I might be able to explain the title—is a book without a traditional plot, and only a writer with Holleran’s skills could manage to hold his readers without the conventional twists and surprises of most novels.
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Ere Shakespeare
On the Queerness of Early English Drama is divided into two parts. The first, “Queer Theories and Themes of Early English Drama,” provides the theoretical underpinning of Pugh’s analyses of the plays discussed in the second part, “Queer Readings of Early English Drama.”
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Living the Culture Clash
Wanting to move “out of my Catholic cocoon,” D’Emilio chooses to attend a secular college and live away from home. His years at Columbia University, 1966–1970, are the most exciting part of the book, not least because they were tumultuous years in American history and on college campuses.
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Entanglements
CARLA Guelfenbein’s eighth novel, skillfully translated by Neil Davidson, centers on the lives and loves of four women living in the neighborhood of Columbia University in the 1940’s and in the present time. One in Me I Never Loved opens with Margarita, a Chilean faculty wife observing her fifty-sixth birthday sitting on a bench atMore
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THE BRITISH WRITER Neil Bartlett has constantly astonished me, first with his debut novel, Ready to Catch Him Should He Fall (1992), then with novels such as Skin Lane (2007; reviewed by me in the March-April 2009 issue), and now with Address Book, a collection of seven first-person short stories that take their titles fromMore
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Lives of the Treacherous
IN THEIR INTRODUCTION to Bad Gays: A Homosexual History, authors Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller illustrate one of their central arguments with a trenchant contrast. Oscar Wilde has emerged as one of the key figures of the contemporary LGBT rights movement, they point out, as he “was one of the first men in British societyMore
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The Legend of Roy
WHEN HER MOTHER said that the mere sight of her made her want to vomit, college freshman Casey Parks reached for solace from her grandmother, a plain-spoken, chain-smoking woman who’d grown up picking cotton. The older woman explained that being a little “different” never bothered her, that, in fact, someone who was different had beenMore
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Young Mungo concerns two gentle, adolescent boys who find each other among the ruins. Mungo, age fifteen, a Protestant, lives with his teenage sister Jodie; occasionally with his mother, Mo-Maw, or her boozy alter ego Tattie-bogle (“scarecrow” in Scots), who sends Mungo on a sinister fishing weekend with two besotted strangers whom she has instructedMore
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Fun with Music Theory
EVERY GOOD BOY Does Fine is an engaging memoir by MacArthur “Genius Grant” pianist Jeremy Denk. With humor and intelligence, he recounts his life story through his music lessons and his love for music.
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Joel Kim Booster’s Fire Island is not only a light-hearted love letter to its eponymous locale but a randy reimagining of Pride and Prejudice. In the role of Noah (a corollary of Jane Austen’s feisty heroine, Elizabeth Bennet), Booster speaks directly to the audience and helps to translate terms that an “outsider” may not understand.
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Reviews of the films Peter Von Kant, All Man: The International Male Story, Lonesome, and Chrissy Judy.
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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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ANGELO MADSEN MINAX creates audacious experimental films of trans embodiment by discordantly juxtaposing present-day footage with Super 8 home movies, animation, staged rituals, and ethereal voice-overs. Chaos and anarchy are embedded in his hybrid cinema of survival, acceptance, and transcendence.
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BTW
Takes on news of the day.
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Letters to the Editor
Readers' comments.
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From the Editor.
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