James Purdy’s Provocative Ambiguities Essays, Features
Everything in Purdy’s Malcolm may be described as “firmly evasive,” which no doubt enhanced the sexual mysteriousness of the novel for its original readers. Early in the novel, unable to follow Malcolm’s explanation of his relationship with Dr. Cox, Estel replies “Of course” by way of encouraging Malcolm to continue, only to reflect suddenlyMore
Blessed Are the Bringers of Art Essays, Features
THE DOCUMENTARY Keith Haring: Street Art Boy, directed by Ben Anthony, takes the formulaic, rags-to-riches narrative and runs with it. Queer sexuality, which was fundamental to Haring’s æsthetic and to his iconographic vocabulary, is completely missing from the film. All phallic imagery—even the mere shadow or hint of it—is erased, even though it was utterlyMore
The Snubbing of Bertram Cope Essays, Features
Bertram Cope’s Year is clearly indebted to the conventions of romantic comedy and the comedy of manners rather than to the tradition of the bildungsroman or coming-of-age novel.
The Company of ‘Whoops, M’dear’ Essays, Features
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “whoops,” with its variant “Whoopsie Daisy!” is the exclamation uttered when a harmless accident occurs. The earliest citation it provides is a 1925 New Yorker caption to a Peter Arno cartoon. Arno’s first collection, Whoops, Dearie, came out two years later, when he created the Whoops Sisters. As describedMore
Male Bonding in the Middle Ages Essays, Features
Similarly, Betancourt, [in Byzantine Intersectionality: Sexuality, Gender, and Race in the Middle Ages,] writes with an authentic engagement in an intersectional analysis of race, sexuality, and gender. With his scholarly and political commitment, Betancourt vividly demonstrates that the richness of Byzantium was not just in its gilded surfaces but also in its gender, racial, andMore
A Paradox of Victorian Sex Essays, Features
OUTRAGES BEGINS in the rare book room of the Morgan Library in New York, where Naomi Wolf has gone to read the manuscript of an unpublished poem that Victorian critic John Addington Symonds wrote at Oxford after falling in love with a classmate—though you might also say that the book began the day Wolf wasMore
Fiction for Revenge (on Humanity) Book Review
In his new biography Devils, Lusts and Strange Desires, Richard Bradford chronicles the life and work of Highsmith with an emphasis on what is not widely known about her.
A YA Novel that Gave Girls Ideas Book Review
A new biography by Leslie Brody, Sometimes You Have to Lie, is an exploration of Fitzhugh’s life in its social and historical context. One of Brody’s projects is to reveal the central conflicts in the life and fiction of her subject, who struggled with truth and falsehood, coming out versus staying in the closet,More
‘You Are HERE’ Book Review
100 Boyfriends is the fourth book by [Brontez] Purnell, who is also a musician, dancer, filmmaker, and performance artist. Indeed, the book is as much a loud, hard-core performance piece as it is a collection of stories: part rant, part stand-up comic routine, part gross-out shtick, part bravura Gen-X aria.
A Damaged Feminist Reconsidered Book Review, Lesbians
While [Martin] Duberman ferrets out the private side of Andrea Dworkin, [in Andrea Dworkin: The Feminist as Revolutionary,] with aplomb, the public Dworkin, “huge and hollering,” as Ariel Levy once put it, is ever-present too. The events of her political career, often inseparable from her private hurts, are examined: …
Out of the Fire and into the Air Force Book Review
LEAVING Isn’t the Hardest Thing is a memoir that hasn’t got a tidy chronology or a crystal-clear resolution, and its language is often coarse. Yet Lauren Hough’s vivid, darkly humorous essays paint a fresh and powerful picture of two intertwined struggles.
Ahead of the Metalheads Book Review, Memoir, Music
IN CONFESS, Rob Halford discloses the trials he faced behind the scenes while fronting the heavy metal band Judas Priest. This memoir is that of a man who was torn between being a pioneer in the macho genre of heavy metal—which indeed fashioned a whole new style of masculinity—and his self-discovery as a gay manMore
Only the Facts about a Complex Life Biography, Book Review
[O]ne can hope that future biographers will build on [Troy R.] Saxby’s exploration of the human side of Pauli Murray, so that she can take her place in the pantheon of LGBT thinkers and activists.
Short Reviews Book Review, Briefs
Reviews of Funeral Diva, Let’s Get Back to the Party, If I Had Two Wings: Stories, and Kink: Stories.
Roots Untangled Book Review, Memoir
BLACK BOY Out of Time is a thought-provoking memoir on what it means to be Black and gay. Journalist Hari Ziyad connects the political and intellectual to the personal in recounting their family’s story.
Could There Be… a Curse? Book Review
Plain Bad Heroines is a Gothic horror novel, but it’s also concerned with the power of stories and who gets to tell them. The Story of Mary MacLane really was an early 20th-century sensation, and its frank discussion of traditionally unspoken desires disrupts Libbie and Alex’ discreet life at Brookhants.
How ACT UP Did It AIDS, Book Review, Politics: GLBT Rights
[Sarah] Schulman states at the outset that her primary purpose in writing Let the Record Show “is not nostalgia, but rather to help contemporary and future activists learn from the past to assist organizing in the present” and to show “that people from all walks of life, working together, can change the world.”
Refashioning an Industry Book Review, Memoir
JUST STANDING IN LINE at a grocery store will tell you nearly everything you need to know about the beauty industry in America: the models on the magazines are exquisitely beautiful, their makeup flawless, their weight well below that of the average American woman. And until recently, all of the models you would see wereMore
Worst. Mom. Ever. Book Review
WINNER of the U.K.’s Booker Prize and a finalist for the National Book Award in America, Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain is perhaps the bleakest great novel to appear in a long time. It is the bleakest, most shocking, and most harrowing account of a childhood I’ve ever read, …
Fathers and Sons Film, Reviews
Review of Falling,directed by Viggo Mortensen, and Palmer directed by Fisher Stevens.
FEAR of her same-sex desires stalked poet Charlotte Mew’s life and haunted her work. She feared that such desire was just another symptom of the family legacy of madness, which she feared even more. On March 24, 1928, afraid that she was succumbing to this trait, she drank Lysol from a cheap brown bottle, ...
Filibus: Lost Lesbian Heroine of the Silents Art Memo, Film
MARIO RONCORONI’S FILIBUS was Corona Films’ top-billing serial for 1915. Shot on a tight budget in northern Italy, it’s a silent caper movie in which the title character, a criminal mastermind, employs cunning and state-of-the-art technology to steal a couple of priceless Egyptian diamonds. Along the way, the mysterious Filibus takes some time to seduceMore
Mark Davis: Finding a Life in Balance Artist's Profile, Interview
MARK DAVIS has been making mobiles out of his studio in the Roslindale section of Boston for almost thirty years. He began making “three-dimensional art” as a boy growing up gay in Indiana. His work has evolved into a unique and original approach that employs color, whimsy, and playfulness to create works of stunning beautyMore
Pride Issue: ‘Cracking the Code’ Editorial
CLEARLY one of this magazine’s missions is to excavate our collective history for relics or antecedents of same-sex desire in the past. What we find, of course, is that for most of Western history such sentiments have had to be expressed in coded or deeply sublimated form, intended for a cognoscenti that “got it” whileMore
Meet Molly Dewson, New Deal Reformer History, Interview, Lesbians
WAS SHE or wasn’t she? Again, we face that vexing question regarding the lives of lesbians and gay men, in this case of Molly Dewson, who was known as “the General” in the era of the New Deal. Dewson is the subject of a book by historian Susan Ware that suddenly seems relevant, which promptedMore
Jamie James, a Writer of Art and of the World In Memoriam
WRITER Jamie James died in Indonesia on February 9, 2020, at the age of 68. His most recent nonfiction books were Pagan Light: Dreams of Freedom and Beauty in Capri (2019), The Glamour of Strangeness: Artists and the Last Age of the Exotic (2016), and Rimbaud in Java: The Lost Voyage (2011). He also wroteMore