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Short Reviews
Brief reviews of Stories to Sing in the Dark, and You Will Love What you Have Killed.
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Writing without the Filter
            Myles has been called “the rock star of modern poetry.” For their many fans, this book will readily confirm that badge. Others may find For Now bewildering, a labyrinthine ramble with no real payoff. Myles is aware of the risks they’re taking. Literature, they say, “is not a moral project except in this profoundMore
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Photos Elegant and Elegiac
            When Rhein shows Brown his portraits—sinewy young men, sometimes with pierced ears, nipples, and penises—he calls them by name: “William, Jeffery, John, Andrew, Joe, Russell.” Some were lovers, some friends. Some are living, some are dead. Self-portraits show Rhein sitting or lying nude on a primitive wooden bench. At other times, he appears nextMore
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            Repackaged conference papers tend to make for dreadful books, readable only by specialists with magnifying glasses. Happily, Isherwood in Transit is much better than many collections and contains a number of chapters that will be of interest not only to gay readers but also to those interested in the milieux through which Isherwood passed,More
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  THESE FEVERED DAYS Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson by Martha Ackmann Norton. 278 pages, $26.95     IN THESE FEVERED DAYS, Martha Ackmann has hit upon an ingenious method for retelling the extraordinarily well-documented yet maddeningly uncertain life of Emily Dickinson. Each of her ten chapters focuses on a significantMore
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            In clear, easy prose, and with an engaging plot, A Burning dramatizes the many injustices suffered by so many Indian people who are too poor to afford reputable doctors, attorneys, or agents, and the connections and moral compromises needed to get ahead. In depicting the inequalities in Indian society, the book resembles Arundhati Roy’sMore
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            The Stone Motel was built in Eunice, Louisiana, in the late 1940s. The name came from its façade of artificial stone. Zanny Ardoin, Morris’ father, purchased the motel in 1967. The father and the motel dominate this book.
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DO YOU HAVE a friend who regales you with stories about their celebrity encounters, sexual shenanigans, and intoxicated misadventures? A lot of gay people do, but if you don’t, I’d suggest reading Michael Alago’s new memoir. Heck, read it even if you do have that friend. The stories Alago tells will be probably be wilder,More
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            Many more years went by before Art showed up at the hospital. Slotten’s account of what happened next makes for a tense reading experience. Indeed the entire story of his love for a man who broke his heart sets us up for many pages of suspense. This story is woven in with memories ofMore
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Ron Athey, a beautifully illustrated catalogue raisonné in which his extensive œuvre is analyzed, comparing him to Jean Genet, Antonin Artaud, and Yukio Mishima. His papers have now been acquired by the Getty Museum, and a new catalogue, Queer Communion: Ron Athey, draws from these archives and includes his art, ephemera, performance notes, scripts, sketches,More
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Switched-On Bach Has a Back Story
Carlos (born in 1939) was an innovator from the start. She began piano lessons at the age of six, but because the family had no money, her father drew a keyboard on a piece of paper for her to practice. At the age of fourteen, Carlos won a Westinghouse Science competition by creating her ownMore
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I wasn’t very far into the novel when I was reminded of Philip Larkin’s most famous poem “This Be the Verse,” which opens: “They fuck you up your mum and dad./ They don’t mean to but they do./ They fill you up with the faults they had/ And add some extra, just for you.” ProdigalMore
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            In Lady Romeo, Tana Wojczuk seamlessly sets the scene of Cushman’s life against the historical currents of her times. Cushman’s main asset was her remarkable voice, and she determined to use it to lift her family out of poverty. Taller than most men of her time, she had a “lantern jaw” and moved likeMore
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Review of the films Summer of 85 and Cicada.
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Strachey’s depiction of Olivia’s sexual and erotic longings is what makes this novel remarkable. Olivia’s “thinly veiled passions” erupt into all that goes with first love: obsession, jealousy, idealization, longing, endless waiting, despair, disillusionment. Strachey takes the reader through all of these stations of the cross of first love.
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OF THE HANDFUL of books that informed my adolescent understanding of what it meant to be gay, E. M. Forster’s posthumously published Maurice was the most revelatory. The reasons are numerous, but the most important was that it held out hope to a confused young mind enduring a very dark night of the soul.
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Michael Callen Can Still Teach Us Things
MICHAEL CALLEN was a force of the universe. As an important first-generation AIDS activist and longtime survivor, groundbreaking queer musician, buzzing gadfly to the powerful, member of the beloved gay men’s vocal ensemble The Flirtations, and co-inventor of Safe Sex, Michael Callen touched the lives and hearts of queer folk profoundly in the 80s andMore
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B.T.W.
Takes on news of the day.
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Letters to the Editor
Readers' Thoughts
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From the Editor
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First, the homosexuality. Proust, Friedländer asserts [in Proustian Uncertainties], was openly gay, though one could argue that this was only true after his parents died, and then only among close friends, and not even all of them. In fact, when Proust’s first book, in Pleasures and Days, came out, he fought a duel with aMore
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Gender Science Marches On
Since the 1960s, it has been standard dogma that gender is binary only as a result of cultural enforcement, while sex is the biological dimorphism of male and female.
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            On Facebook, shockingly enough, I blocked my own godson during the last election race. I was stunned to learn that he is a right-winger who continually posts smear campaigns against the Democrats, shamelessly echoing propaganda from shady websites. As I happen to have inside knowledge of this guy’s own personal behavior, I know heMore
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At age 24, he was already known for his Æsthetic affectations and pithy quips. Wilde was perhaps the first person to be famous for being famous.
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  IN 1948, Gore Vidal published his groundbreaking novel The City and the Pillar, which depicted a brief affair between two high school boys and its tragic repercussions. The effect of the novel was electric. The dust jacket of the original 1948 printing quotes The New York Herald Tribune: “Frank, shocking, sensational and often embarrassing.More
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IN KEEPING WITH our annual custom, we remember some of the LGBT activists, writers, performers, educators, and artists who made a difference in their lives and who died last year from a range of causes, including the Covid-19 pandemic. All dates are in 2020 unless otherwise indicated.
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David Bergman assembles the living VQ members: Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano, & Edmund White
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